Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

Anna Johnson lost both her parents. Less than two years ago, her father walked to the edge of a cliff and jumped into the sea. A year ago, her mother did exactly the same thing. And Anna never knew why…

Now, with a young child and a loving partner, Anna is still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy. But her world begins to fall apart when she receives an anonymous note:

“Suicide? Think again.”

That note starts an obsession with finding out the truth. But some truths really should stay buried…

Let Me Lie is the third novel by Clare Mackintosh. As regular readers to the blog know, my reading oscillates between the classic Golden Age crime novel and the modern day mystery-thriller genre. After all, that’s kind of the point of the blog, to find the classic-style mystery in modern crime fiction. I’ve come across Clare Mackintosh’s name before – I’ve even got a charity shop copy of I Let You Go, her first book, unread on my shelf – but, and I’ll be honest here, I was a bit put off by the quotes on the blurb. Apart from the first two that banged on about an amazing twist – you know, the thing that you’re better off not knowing the existence of – there were fourteen other authors going on about the book being the next best thing to sliced bread – no, I’ll take that back. The next best thing to the Reese’s peanut butter chocolate egg that I had the other day. Seriously amazing, but now it’s vanished from the shops like it never existed. Anyway I digress, but generally, when I’ve seen that many glowing reviews, it hasn’t ended well, like in The Girl On The Sodding Train.

So I approached this one tentatively…

… and all of the praise lavished on this one – there are fourteen quotes on the Amazon page – well, in my opinion, they’re understating this book. It is a magnificent piece of work.

I’m going to say very little about the plot. The book is structured with at least three points of view, two known – Anna and the retired policeman she recruits to help her – and the rest unknown, those people drip-feeding hints as to who they might or might not be. All of the voices are wonderfully distinct and the end of one strand of the narrative almost had me in tears. There is some gorgeous narrative trickery involved here, something that I’d love to tell you about but simply can’t, and at least two revelations that completely floored me. I don’t know about Clare’s first book, but this isn’t structured around a massive central twist – there’s so much more to this.

This is probably the most satisfying crime novel that I’ve read in a long time – clever, moving and it out-smarted me completely. Highly Recommended, in case you couldn’t guess.

Let Me Lie is released today in the UK. Many thanks to Sphere & Little, Brown UK for the review copy.


  1. Given my own recent positive experiences in more modern crime fiction, I was interested to read this review, to see what I should try next. With the Puzzle Doctor Highly Recommended accolade bestowed upon it, getting myself a copy of this one seems like a no-brainer. Narrative trickery definitely sounds like my kind of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t realize I already had this book on my wish list. What a treasure to have found this website. I look for new mystery books to read all the time but with so many books out there I get lost. I trust your reviews implicitly you are so correct about over blown reviews that mislead. Thank you for saving me so much time searching for the best classic mysteries ( my favorite genre). By the way Claire McIntosh’s “I let you Go” was excellent.


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