Their Little Secret, Mark Billingham

Reviewed By
Andrea Thompson

Called out to confirm a suicide, Thorne feels there is a need to look further into the life of the deceased, Phillipa Goodwin. Death by train was a horrific way to go, and according to Goodwin’s sister, there had been someone new in Phillipa’s life who may have driven her to end it all. Someone who had made a fool of Phillipa, and that humiliation may have been too much for a lonely woman to bear.

Two can keep a secret, right, if one of them is dead?  Or if one of them hasn’t yet been royally p*ssed off by the other.  The romantic swindler who has now come across Detective Inspector Tom Thorne’s radar does not seem to be acting alone, and may have himself just become the swindled.  Regardless of the poetic justice at play, Thorne soon has two killers to find rather than the usual solo operator.  Game on.

There’s always the hopeful possibility in a crime investigation that the bonds of a shared secret may begin to fray as the risk of discovery increases. Detective Inspector Tom Thorne for one has his fingers crossed for that hopeful eventuality.  It would be preferable though that it not apply to the threeway shared secret that he himself is party to.  Tom Throne is rattling around a bit after the events of THE KILLING KIND forced him in a triad of secrecy with D.I. Nicola Tanner and forensic examiner Phil Hendricks.  Tom Thorne loves these two people in his own way, so it is their shared knowledge about an event that occurred in the previous year that continues to simmer away in the background of their interactions in THEIR LITTLE SECRET.  

Don’t you just love it when the suspicions you had whilst reading a series prior do turn out to be spot on? THEIR LITTLE SECRET has lots of rewarding little goodies for the regular reader of the Tom Thorne novels.   Don’t get too comfy thinking you know Tom Thorne inside and out, as he is an ever-changing creature.  Definitely not fickle or the type to endlessly ‘fanny about’, and absolutely still able to surprise his regular readers so many novels into this best-selling series.

THEIR LITTLE SECRET takes us to new and dark places with a new kind of criminal.  As always, mandatory reading for the lovers of UK police procedural, this deliciously twisty ride into what lurks beneath in the suburbs is disturbing and revealing.  The local café, the local primary school, the local shops.  Who knows what prowls the everyday of our lives unseen.

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When DI Tom Thorne is called to conduct a routine assessment at the site of a suicide, he expects to be in and out in no time. But when he arrives at the metro station, where a woman named Philippa Goodwin threw herself in front of an underground train, Thorne inexplicably senses something awry and feels copelled to dig deeper. He soon discovers that she was the victim of a callous con-man whose deception plunged Philippa to her end.

Enraged that one man’s trickery caused an innocent death, Thorne enlists DI Nicola Tanner to help him track down the swindler and bring him to justice. But the detective duo gets more than they bargained for when a young man’s lifeless, bludgeoned body turns up on the shore of a nearby seaside town: it appears that very con artist they’re searching for is connected to the murder.

Review Their Little Secret, Mark Billingham
Andrea Thompson
Sunday, June 16, 2019

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