The body of Hannah Brown has been dismembered and pieces found all over London. Her fiancé, James Greenacre, stands accused of her murder and his mistress, Sarah Gale, of helping him conceal the body. Sarah and James have been found guilty and have both been given the death penalty, but Sarah has petitioned for mercy and her young lawyer, Edmund Fleetwood, is trying very hard to prove that she was acting under the influence of a dangerous man. The trouble is, Sarah isn’t talking, not even to Edmund, and time is running out…
The trouble with novels based on real life events, is that a lot of what real people do is not really worth the trouble of writing about. Although this story does have an interesting premise, because that premise is a true event there actually isn’t all that much to it and most of the time nothing very much happens in terms of moving the story on.
Anna Mazzola has tried to take what was clearly an interesting case and add some life to it. Sadly, that has proved a step too far and the characters do lack both depth and indeed redeeming features; none of them seem all that pleasant and the whole thing rather a sad and sorry mess. I think it might well have made a great short story, but I don’t feel there is enough variety to hold my interest for a whole novel.
I will be interested to see how the author moves on from here though, because I do like the style this book is written in and would have no hesitation in reading another one written by her if it had a bit more flesh to the story.