House of Correction by Nicci French is the latest standalone by the married couple Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. It’s an interesting book. I initially engaged with our lead Tabitha though was a little baffled by her naiveté about her predicament (ie. in jail on remand but assuming ‘the truth will set her free’). Then we see a side of her that had me realising she was perhaps not entirely a nice person. And – though I can cope with unreliable or unlikeable narrators if they’re psychopaths or sociopaths, I wasn’t sure I’d cope with one who was just a bitch.
I was surprised to read this was the first Nicci French (Nicci Gerrard / Sean French) standalone novel in 10 years. I’ve got quite a few on my bookshelves so it made me feel a little old. Of course I’ve not really been smitten with the Frieda Klein series, though have enjoyed the last few more than the first couple.
And I really enjoyed much of this novel and (unsurprisingly, cos I’m not great at delaying instant gratification) read it in a sitting. I was a tad disappointed with the end as it felt a little anti-climatic but I’d enjoyed everything that came before.
disciples, devotees, (ahem) readers of my book reviews may recall I’ve struggled with the Nicci French Dr Frieda Klein series. I actually even put one or two of the early books aside rather than continuing with them.
However, I actually enjoyed the last one I read, Friday On My Mind and commented in that review on the fact I felt that Frieda was – perhaps – evolving a little and become a more likeable character. I’d like to think I wasn’t alone in struggling with early Frieda and the Nicci Gerrard / Sean French pairing decided to insert a little personality into her stiff unrelatable demeanour. I suspect however, it’s probably more about the trajectory they’d always planned for the socially-challenged psychotherapist rather than public outcry.
In my review of the Nicci French novel, Thursday’s Children I was fairly blunt in relation to my antipathy toward psychologist, Dr Frieda Klein. Prickly and unlikeable I struggled to care a lot about her (and her welfare). I still enjoyed the book—predominantly because the Gerrard / French combo can still spin an absorbing tale. Despite Frieda.
Unfortunately I’m assuming Frieda’s going to stay in play right through the week, so we have a Saturday and Sunday to get through yet. <Insert sigh here.> However… on a happier note, I actually found her less grating this time around and almost… almost
cared whether she lived or died found myself on her side.
Bizarrely I’ve read every Nicci French book except (their) last two. Indeed I hadn’t even realised I’d missed them until I started on their latest, Thursday’s Children. Obviously I was familiar with psychotherapist Frieda Klein and her motley crew of friends and colleagues, but there were a few references throughout the book which left me a bit bewildered. Of course I could go back and read the two I’ve missed but suspect the spoilers (in the 4th novel) would render them a tad redundant.