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The Cradle in the Grave: A Zailer and Waterhouse Mystery (A Zailer & Waterhouse Mystery) Paperback – August 30, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: A Zailer & Waterhouse Mystery
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014311994X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143119944
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sophie Hannah is the bestselling author of eight novels and is also an award-winning poet. Her new Hercule Poirot mystery, the first to be sanctioned by the Agatha Christie estate, will be published in September 2014. She lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and two children, and is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College.


More About the Author

Sophie Hannah is an award-winning poet and crime fiction writer whose novels are international bestsellers.

Customer Reviews

The characters are always very vivid, complex, and fascinating.
Amazon Customer
I liked the inner dialogue going on with the narrators, but there were too many different narrators and far too many characters in general.
12568
I kept reading to find out what happened but really just didn't care halfway through it.
daniela

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on August 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Sophie Hannah is one of the stars of today's mystery writing. Every new book she releases is better than the previous ones. THE CRADLE IN THE GRAVE is no exception. The novel makes you hold you breath from start to finish. Unlike many other mystery writers, Sophie Hannah knows how to get you into the plot from page one. The characters are always very vivid, complex, and fascinating. Readers who have been following Hannah's work for a while will be glad to meet Simon Waterhouse once again. In this novel, he is as neurotic as ever and his relationship with his boss, the Snowman, is as wrought with drama as usual, and then some.

In this novel, Waterhouse is investigating the murder of a woman who'd spent nine years in prison for, allegedly, murdering her two small children. The Snowman was the officer who arrested her, even though he was very friendly with the woman he was forced to arrest and kept insisting on her innocence. As readers, we get to see the Snowman in ways we didn't before. We watch his relationship with Simon unravel in very unpredictable ways.

At the same time, there are other women who had been accused and tried for the same kind of crime. A noted TV journalist who's been active in helping them clear their names and who has been trying to make a documentary film about them suddenly leaves his job. It falls to Felicity, the Creative Director at his TV company, to decide whether the film should be made at all. Felicity, however, has a few dark secrets of her own.

Sophie Hannah is brilliant at making her characters very distinctive and memorable. Each of them has a voice and a personality of their own that make it impossible for the readers to forget them.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Regina Niesen on October 3, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Book Description- Television producer Fliss Benson receives an annonymous card at work, with 16 numbers on it, arranged in four rows of four-numbers that mean nothing to her. On that same day, Fliss finds out she's going to be working on a documentary about three crib death mothers wrongly accused of murder: Helen Yardley, Sarah Jaggard, and Rachel Hines. All three women are now free, and the doctor who testified against them , child protection zealot Dr. Judith Duffy, is under investigation for misconduct. For reasons she has shared with nobody, this is the last project Fliss wants to be working on. Then Helen Yardley is found dead at her home, and in her pocket is a card with 16 numbers on it, arranged in four rows of four...

The British title of this book is A Room Swept White. The US title is The Cradle in the Grave. Fliss is a low level television producer whose boss calls her in and announces that he is leaving the company and the documentary that he alone has championed for years. He is leaving it for Fliss Benson. She quickly find out she is in over her head. Suddenly there are murders and attacks on those involved in the project and she wants nothing to do with it, until Ray Hines contacts her and suddenly becomes willing to be a part of the project as long as Fliss is in charge. Wanting to try and find answers, Fliss befriends Ray and continues on with the project. In the meantime, the Culver PD are trying to find their own answers as to who has killed Helen Yardley, who has recently been released from prison upon acquittal of the murder charges against her that she has killed her two children. She claims, as do others, that they died of crib death. A card with a grid of numbers was left at the crime scene.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brooklyn Browser on October 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
Cradle in the Grave was my first Sophie Hannah experience and wont be the last. Weaving her story from a variety of documents and first person narrative by Felicity (Fliss) Benson,in a manner somewhat reminiscent of Reginald Hill's recent works, Hannah gradually reveals her cast of characters, documentary film makers and justice campaigners focussed on documenting a group of unjust (it seems) convictions of mothers for infanticide, the mothers and husbands (one of whom is murdered) police officers investigating the murder of the mother adn so on..

The narrative gains interest as it moves forward - there are many mysteries in addition to the central ones - who killed Helen Yardley - and were these cleared mothers in fact innocent of killing their children - whats Fliss Benson's problem (a highly neurotic babe), what gives with her-ex boss Laurie, or the cops, Proust,Hopkinson, etc. The very fact that the narrative remains strong and satisfying despite Hannah's failure to carry though and tie up the loose ends is quite remarkable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Sophie Hannah grabs us on page one with her mesmerizing, sophisticated, and original thriller, "The Cradle in the Grave." The book's theme, women who may have committed infanticide, is deeply chilling. One of the accused is Rachel (Ray) Hines, a cynical woman who believes that "life is chaotic and indiscriminate," that people "blunder along, and "things just happen, and not for any reason." She makes these comments to Laurie Nattrass, a television producer, journalist, and crusader who works tirelessly on behalf of women he believes have been unjustly vilified.

Among those whose cause Laurie has championed is Helen Yardley. She was convicted of smothering her two sons, spent nine years in prison, and was released after a successful appeal. According to Nattrass, the villain-in-chief is forensic pathologist Dr. Judith Duffy, an expert witness who has spent hours in court testifying against individuals accused of killing their babies. Thirty-one year old Felicity (Fliss) Benson is an insecure and nervous producer who works for the domineering and aloof Nattrass. For a variety of reasons, Fliss becomes involved when an unidentified perpetrator shoots one of the principals connected with the aforementioned cases.

Hannah tackles a hot-button issue with subtlety, sensitivity, and a lack of moral superiority. Her descriptive writing is terrific. One irritating character "blinks at you blank-eyed, as if you've bored her into an upright coma." The dialogue is bright, clever, funny, and poignant, and the author creates a large and memorable cast (recurring characters are the caustic and neurotic DC Simon Waterhouse and his long-suffering girlfriend).
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