Review of Time Is A Killer by Michel Bussi

 Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 2018 - ISBN: 978-147-460-668-4

 Set amid the vivid and beguiling scenery of Corsica, Clotilde is spending a summer holiday here with her husband Franck and their fractious, adolescent daughter, Valentine. It’s 27 years since Clotilde, now a lawyer living in France, last set foot on her ancestral island.  Then she was left orphaned when her parents and older brother were wiped out in a fatal car crash on a dangerous stretch of hill road.  During the last visit when she was fifteen, Clotilde had kept a diary that mysteriously went missing during the accident.   Now, as she re-unites with her paternal grandparents, members of an ancient, wealthy and influential Corsican family that rules the roost, a bizarre, newly written letter arrives for her signed simply “P.”    Clotilde recognizes the handwriting as that of her stylish mother, Palma. But she’s dead, isn’t she?  The letter busts open the whole tragic incident and triggers a host of memories and uncomfortable questions.  The story weaves in and out between the ghosts of the past and the reality of the present, through bumpy, tangled relationships, family secrets and ruptured lives.   The  established author gradually and  masterfully sets the stage for a multi-layered, tense, psychological noir thriller with intriguing, believable characters, sparkling dialogue and a satisfying twisty payoff at the end.  It’s a compelling, intricate,  surprising read.  Last but not least, credit must also go to the translator, Shaun Whiteside, for a difficult job, well done, that preserves the integrity of the original French language.

Reviewer: Serena Fairfax










Leave a Reply