Books & Literature

Book Review: Those People, by Louise Candlish

Meet the neighbours you’ll love to hate. Until Darren and Jodie move in, Lowland Way is a suburban paradise. And then a horrific crime shocks the street.

A ripping, insightful read, if ever there was!!

Highly respectable elite, Lowland Way, in a posh London suburb, finds its tight-knit, well-to-do community life’s peace threatened bit by bit thanks to Darren Booth and partner Jodie – a cheap, trashy, arrogant, low-life couple who’ve won the inheritance lottery.

They are those people: undesirables who turn their newly-won gain, the peaceful No. 1 Lowland Way, into a renovation nightmare. It’s a nightmare of all-night music, their collection of cars parked everywhere in a kid-friendly street, plus scaffolding intruding onto neighbouring property. He has to go.

Chuck a death at Booth’s into the mix. How inconvenient to the neighbours’ eviction campaign. Who did it? Why? Was one of them a killer?

This fantastic mix of plot elements and characters is played by Louise Candlish with outstanding skill, delivering simultaneously a psychological thriller, awhodunnit, murder mystery, and subtle, acidic socio-political observation.

Thrilling, spicy, tautly strung power relationships in the war to oust Booth become complicated by secrets, police pressure, fear of being fitted up for murder and illegal surveillance by supposed safe allies. Brothers Ralph and Finn Morgan live next to each other, Ralph and his wife Naomi are the top dogs of the street, supported by Finn and wife Tess. Lower in the pecking order is Anthony and Em Kendall with baby Sam and widower Sissy Watkins who runs her home as a B & B.

Candlish’s occupants of this exclusive street are magnificent upper middle class paragons of righteous virtue and barely sublimated hypocrisy as to their true selves, let alone true social origins.

Chapter to chapter, an official police moment is followed by delicious fly-on-the-wall reveals of events back in time leading to the shocking death.

This ‘people like us’ saga is an intensely rich study of what does and doesn’t make ‘community’ and what makes it come undone, bit by bit, shredding any remaining claims to superior moral standing that there might be for this elite group. There’s cracking bonds and loyalties as if they were eggshells, accompanied by an ever-increasing sense of claustrophobia enfolding the very souls of Lowland Way’s occupants.

Ripping, insightful read, if ever there was!!

Reviewed by David O’Brien
Twitter: @DavidOBupstART

Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: July 2019
RRP: $35

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