Marriage is getting quite a battering in crime fiction at the moment and it’s easy to see the appeal of domestic noir. Unlike the serial killer novels that I read in my twenties, there’s something horribly close-to-home in reading about the disintegration of a marriage, especially when a crime is involved. The latest book to deal with the subject is a debut novel, My Husband’s Wife, by Jane Corry.
Lawyer, Lily is married to artist Ed and the pair of them befriend a little girl, Carla, whose Italian mother is having an affair with a married man. The marriage is fractured from the beginning. Lily is still traumatised from the death of her brother and is violently jealous of Ed’s ex girlfriend. She defends and befriends Joe Thomas who is accused of murdering his girlfriend. As the trial progresses, professional and personal boundaries become blurred. The book then forwards a number of years. Carla is now an adult who returns from Italy keen to settle scores and will willingly sacrifice marriages and her own sanity to avenge her mother.
My Husband’s Wife is a complex book firmly in domestic noir territory. Lily and Ed are cleverly shown as not woven together in the early scenes in the book. The possibility of an affair on either side is ever present and the relationships around them do nothing to provide a role model for their future. In the latter half of the book, the tension ratchets up as Carla looks to do her evil work. Carla is a difficult character to relate too but provides an interesting contrast to the fragile but determined Lily and the weak Ed.
I’m sure fans of psychological thrillers will love My Husband’s Wife. It’s a meaty read with plenty of twists and turns and with some redemption for the characters.