Duplicity, by Sibel Hodge
A rich newlywed husband is found stabbed to death in his home. His beautiful wife manages to flee naked to a neighbor’s house. All signs point to the wife’s jilted lover. Detective Sergeant Warren Carter is assigned to the case. Carter is recently widowed, has been passed over for a promotion he hoped for, and believes he sees the answer to the mystery if his newly promoted superior will get out of the way.
Hodge sets up an interesting story working with two narrators switching from chapter to chapter. One thread gradually peels apart the murderer’s story and true motives while Carter describes his own investigation in a book that has more than one surprising twist. She’s able to keep the second narrator’s identity a secret through most of the book and still manages a surprise at the end.
It’s an interesting look at a troubled life running parallel to Carter’s story of working within a difficult bureaucracy that tends to bend to the demands of the upper class. If there’s a fault in the book it may be that she gives Carter too many issues to deal with. For the first part of the 20th century most fictional detectives were single loners working with a few select associates, or totally alone in the noir detective era. They were motivated by an interest in puzzles and a dedication to truth. These days it seems you can’t be a detective unless you’ve been through a trauma with a wife, husband, or child to motivate the search for justice. The new detectives are driven almost as much by revenge as through any thought of justice or an ordered society.
That aside, Carter is likeable and knows the truth if the job will let him expose it and, troubled childhood or not, the killer is completely unsympathetic. The ultimate solution is an interesting surprise in all the different zigzags the story takes. It’s also nice to have multiple narrators and not one of them changes their story for a surprise reveal at the end. A satisfying book in almost every way.