Two Wrongs by Mel McGrath

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Two Wrongs by Mel McGrath

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Something's going wrong at Avon University in Bristol: it's being called suicide contagion but it might be that some of the teaching staff are more involved than they'd like to be widely known. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400/10h40m Date: March 2021
Publisher: HQ
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780008336837

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Sondra was on her way home after work when she saw a young woman looking as though she was going to jump from the Clifton suspension bridge. She talks to her, and Sondra finally persuades Satnam to call her best friend and flatmate, Nevis Smith. Nevis is unworldly and rather reserved - and she can't understand why Satnam hasn't shared her problems with her. She thought they shared everything. Satnam is taken to hospital and Nevis calls her mother, Honor. They've not been on good terms since a discovery Nevis made the previous summer but right now, Nevis needs her mother.

Well, Honor isn't actually Nevis's mother: she was Zoe Jeffers who died when Nevis was three-months-old. Died is putting a nice gloss on it too: Zoe committed suicide but Honor hasn't told Nevis about that yet and you might have thought that now Nevis is at university and doing well in her studies, Honor might have grasped the nettle and told Nevis that her mother was raped and Nevis was the result - but somehow the time has never been right. When the telephone call comes, Honor doesn't hesitate: she leaves her narrowboat and drives to Bristol, without even bothering to change out of her pyjamas.

Complicated, isn't it? Well, it's going to get a lot worse. Satnam's parents, Bikram and Narinder Mann, weren't entirely certain about Satnam going to university. They would prefer that she got married and have even got a nice young man picked out. Satnam has a boyfriend, Luke, but she's not doing too well on her Mathematics and Biosciences course and she's worried that if she falters there will be more pressure to go home and get married. There might be a way around this though. It seems that a couple of other students have taken advantage of the opportunity.

The dean of the faculty is having problems too. Professor Christopher Cullen is married to the Honourable Veronica Fanshawe-Drew, who prefers to go by her maiden name. She's high maintenance: they can't really afford the Regency house they live in but Veronica was determined that they should have it. Now she's determined to get pregnant despite the fact that Christopher doesn't really want a child. He doesn't know how they'd afford the expense for a start: he suspects that Veronica is already visualising a nanny and he's having trouble paying his debts as it is.

I came to Two Wrongs after reading Zoë Morris's review of Give Me The Child by Mel McGrath. If Zoë reckons a book is worth five of our Bookbag stars, then that's good enough for me and it's a firm recommendation of the author. I wasn't disappointed. The characterisation is excellent. I loved Nevis. She's otherworldly and a little naive but there's an honesty and generosity about her that warms your heart. She's brilliant at maths - even if she does try to reduce life to something which can be computed mathematically - and she believes in justice, regardless of the cost to herself. Perhaps the masterpiece is Christopher Cullen who catches your sympathy - for a while.

The plot is brilliantly constructed. It took me a little while to get the who-is-who straight in my mind but it was certainly worth the effort and it's very cleverly done. I always had a suspicion about what was going to happen just before it was revealed: I was very much involved in the story and there was one point when I had to remind myself to breathe. The book's highly recommended and I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

We can offer you some true crime from Bristol. If you'd prefer fiction, we can offer you a gem from the eighteenth century.

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