Friday, 6 October 2017

The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths - Harry Bingham

This is the third in Bingham's superb series (I know I'm reading them in reverse order, but what can you do?). It is slightly better than The Dead House, which I thought was brilliant, and just as good as The Deepest Grave.

The premise - that Fiona is given the chance to enhance her skills with an intensive course in undercover policing, then gets to do it for real in a multinational computer scam - allows Bingham to explore his character's tangled psyche. We already know that Fiona is 'different' psychologically, but the assumed personalities she has to take on for the sake of the story throw into sharp relief just how shallowly-grounded her actual personality is. Fiona Grey, for example, is a muted version of Fiona Griffiths, Jessica Taylor is Fiona Griffiths turned up to eleven. And of course all this is described in first person, present tense, by the Fiona Griffiths we are used to.  Her underlying disorder, Cotard's Syndrome, which put her in the psychiatric hospital as a teenager, bubbles up throughout. No wonder boyfriend, wannabe fiance Buzz stands no chance of a permanent relationship. No wonder hitman Vic very nearly wins the girl.

Again, I cannot recommend the Fiona Griffiths series highly enough. If you like dark crime fiction, you really must check it out asap.

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