The Deaths by Mark Lawson
|The Deaths by Mark Lawson|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A dark satire on the lives of the rich which leaves you wondering exactly who is going to comeout the other end - or not.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 468||Date: June 2014|
In an idyllic enclave in Buckinghamshire, within spitting distance of Milton Keynes, there are four houses. You might even call them mansions, as they are not the sort of homes to which most people can aspire. But the residents are not most people - they are rich and the lives they lead are different. They're not the old aristocracy for whom the houses were built, but the new elite - barristers, business tycoons, bankers, magistrates, doctors. One of their number runs a security business, so they're all protected by expensive security systems and when they leave their little haven it's usually to travel first class to London or on their way to catch a flight. The Eight seem to lead charmed lives - but the financial world is changing and there isn't the money around that there used to be.
And we know right from the beginning that there's going to be a tragedy. We have a glimpse into the future as the man delivering coffee supplies finds the bodies of the two dogs and walks into the scene of a mass shooting. The wife and three children are dead in their beds and the husband is missing. We don't know who it is though - and counting the children and the dogs is not going to help. The families are all similar - even down to the 'one labrador and one small dog' canine combo.
Now - a warning - of The Eight, you're probably going to find about six pretty odious. Dr Emily Rutherford seems to have her feet on the ground and isn't quite so wedded to the life of indulgence as the other families. At the other end of the scale you get the Dunsters - the man with money to throw around, part inherited and part income from the family firm. His wife's Jenno - the new young wife and his possession of a youngwife is probably envied more by the other men than the money he throws around. Also up in the higher reaches of money is Jonny Crossan and his wife Libby. He's a barrister and son of a politician: it's unfortunate that his hair will at one point lead to him being called 'the ginger whinger'. At the bottom of the scale are the Lonsdales - Simon and Samantha. He's a banker for whom the economic crisis is biting somewhere painful. He'd like to economise but with the company he and his wife keep it's difficult and Samantha's contribution is a bit of shoplifting in Waitrose.
It's beautifully observed, occasionally funny - if you find the odious rich funny - but mainly very sad. It's an entertaining read although I did find that I was spending longer than I would have liked in the company of people I normally prefer to avoid. Think of it as a good holiday read - and avoid the Milton Keynes to Euston line in the early morning.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals then we can recommend Deadly Sins by Nicholas Coleridge.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Deaths by Mark Lawson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Deaths by Mark Lawson at Amazon.com.
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