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A Stain on the Silence

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A Stain on the Silence

By Andrew Taylor

His recent books have all been set in the past. Now he brings his setting right up-to-date and plunges the reader into a real nightmare.

James wasn’t much more than a child when he had an affair with Lily. Now, 24 years later, Lily confesses to James that their affair led to a daughter, Kate. And Kate desperately needs her father’s help: she’s wanted for murder.

But, there is no room for murder in James’s life. He has a wife, a good job and a nice house in the country. As Kate comes crashing into his world she lights the fuse under his ordered life. Because James has also been keeping a secret – a very dark and deadly one. You can run from a guilty conscience, but you can’t hide.

Taylor says that, though the setting is contemporary, the themes and dilemmas of the novel are as universal as love and death. It’s a book about children and parents and especially about missing children – children who are lost, stolen, lose themselves and who haunt the minds of those who do not have them.

The title – from Samuel Beckett – came first. Beckett was referring to his writing, but for many people, their children are far more important than their work: children are a way to leave a trace of yourself behind, a sort of immortality. But what happens when the children are missing? That was the theme – and the plot came together from two real-life cases – a schoolboy who had had an affair with a matron at his school and an emotionally vulnerable – and perhaps untrustworthy – woman accused of murdering her lover. Like many novels, this one was born when ideas collided. It’s a good read.

Available in paperback at 11 euros