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Books Editorial

sunburnbook.jpg Sunburn

Laura Lippman, Faber & Faber

After a day at the beach with her husband and young child Polly surreptitiously up sticks, leaving them both behind, to disappear somewhere non-descript. She winds up in the small town of Belleville, Delaware, where she manages to sort herself out with a spartan apartment and a job at the local tavern as a waitress. She hooks up with Adam (“a Ken doll kind of guy, if Ken had a great year-round tan”) who is passing through Belleville and ends up working wonders as a cook in the kitchen at the tavern. What she doesn’t know is that Adam is a private eye who has been tasked with tracking her down and uncovering whatever secrets Polly has hidden. What he doesn’t know is that Polly’s secrets go deeper than he could ever imagine. Laura Lippman’s latest is a classic noir set up in the manner of James M. Cain (a fact acknowledged by the author with explicit nods to Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice in the text) and she skilfully lets the secrets and lies unfurl like deadly nightshade throughout this tale, right through to its wholly satisfying conclusion.