The Whole Truth (D I Fawley) by Cara Hunter

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The Whole Truth (D I Fawley) by Cara Hunter

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Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An Oxford professor makes sexual advances to a student, only it's not at all what you might be expecting. An exceptionally good read: this series just gets better and better. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: April 2021
Publisher: Penguin
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0241985137

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DI Adam Fawley's team got to Edith Launceleve College first, called there by Jancis Appleby to see the Principal, Professor Hilary Reynolds. There had been an accusation of sexual assault by a professor on a student. When Fawley arrived he was almost cross: what was the alleged perpetrator doing in the room before they'd even got the details from the victim? The problem was that Caleb Morgan was the 'victim' and the alleged perpetrator was Professor Marina Fisher. Just to complicate matters further, Caleb's mother is Petra Newson, the local MP, and Professor Fisher is a big name is Artificial Intelligence. She has an eight-year-old son, buys her wine by the case from Berry Brothers & Rudd, spends more than £1000 a month on clothes and has more than ten thousand Twitter followers. When the excrement encounters the ventilation equipment, this is going to be very public.

Fawley's got other things on his mind at the moment. His wife, Alex, is eight months pregnant with the baby they'd despaired of ever having. Two years earlier their ten-year-old son, Jake, had taken his own life: this baby is unbelievably precious and Fawley doesn't want his wife upsetting in any way. He and Alex had met when he was a DS investigating a series of rapes and sexual assaults: Alex had been one of the victims and it was her testimony that put Gavin Parrie away for a long stretch. Fawley knows that Parrie was guilty but he also knows that he was convicted on a lie and he's known it for some time. Prairie has now been released on licence and when he was convicted he swore vengeance against Fawley and his family. Somehow Fawley has to keep his wife safe and work out who's telling the truth about what happened that night when Caleb Morgan was babysitting.

Sounds almost simple, doesn't it? Well, it very quickly becomes obvious that neither Marina Walker nor Caleb Morgan is telling the whole truth and there's even a suggestion that Marina might not know the whole truth. She's quite clear about what happened to to a certain point, but then it all becomes a bit hazy. She'd had quite a lot to drink at the professional dinner she'd been attending and that might be the reason why she's not clear about why her evening dress is torn - or why she got it off to be cleaned and repaired first thing the following morning.

Caleb Morgan's clear about what happened. He was sexually assaulted although it didn't get as far as rape. His girlfriend, Freya Hughes, seems to be a driving force behind his going to the police but there's obviously another agenda here. Typically, there's a lot going on on social media and plenty of speculation. The names haven't been made public, but no one seems to be in any doubt as to the identity of the professor.

The story's bang up to the minute but with an elegant twist in so much as it's not a woman who's been assaulted but a man. You might think that a rugby player wouldn't have much trouble fighting off the advances of a woman but not all coercion is physical and Cara Hunter covers this point well: it happens to men too.

This is how police procedurals should be written: it's a masterclass. There's a scenario that you can imagine, but with a twist. Not everyone is telling the truth and the story is peopled with characters you can relate to. DC Gareth Quinn was - until recently - DS Quinn but was demoted after he had a relationship with a suspect. He's standing in for DS Chris Gislingham at the beginning of the story and is determined to make a mark, not least because there's a new girlfriend on the scene and this one could be serious.

The setting's Oxford and Hunter captures it perfectly. It's a brave move to use a college. EL (as it's known) is a new college on the outskirts and makes the perfect location. The plot is a cracker: forget the idea that you need a dead body - this story is far more realistic. I loved every moment and was vaguely resentful when I turned the final page. I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.

This is the best book in the series so far but it's one of those series that looks as though it's getting better and better. I can't wait for the next one.

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Peter said:

So many stories were interwoven in this excellent detective novel. Once I started reading I found it impossible to put down. There were so many twists and turns along the way and an ending that you will not see coming.