Death of a Murderer (2 stars)

Rupert Thomson

Death of a Murderer (Bloomsbury)


With artworks, dramas and songs having been created about and around Myra Hindley, there is no particular reason for Rupert Thomson’s eighth novel to be inherently offensive. What genuinely upsets here is the paucity of much of the writing; from such an experienced author, some of the prose, dialogue and analogies are simply embarrassing, leading you to laugh out loud (‘he wanted to kiss her eyes back into focus’: eh?) when the subject matter should have you crumbling inside.

It’s 2002 and PC Billy Tyler is handed the unenviable task of guarding the corpse of Ian Brady’s partner. This sparks off a series of memories and worries which slowly peel away Tyler’s own dark past and reveal the malevolent urges which apparently lie dormant in us all. While Tyler has fantasised killing his pantomime baddy father-in-law, his wife confesses to contemplating the murder of their disabled daughter. A cack-handed and clumsy attempt at confronting the concept of evil.

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