They work together in the family veterinarian practise, live in three adding cottages, and own a holiday villa near Verona in which they share holidays with Joe’s wife Lydia, and single parent Frannie’s small son, Paul. Their close but complex relationship is tested to the limit when Frannie accidentally kills a man in her car near the villa. Her siblings rush to help, but it’s clear the man is dead. The obvious thing is to call the police, but single parent Frannie is terrified she’ll be jailed for manslaughter, leaving her small son Paul without a mother. She begs her siblings to cover the killing up, and, aware of the appalling immorality of their actions, but terrified by the thought of their little sister’s incarceration in an Italian jail, they agree. Cathy and Joe bury the body.
This novel, as well as being a cracking psychological thriller, examines an intensely destructive moral dilemma. Initially the Plant siblings get away with their cover-up, but once back home in the UK, the family begins to fall apart. A mixture of fear, guilt, and anger inevitably curdles their close relationship and their lives descend into disbelief, jealousy and blackmail. As the family’s life disintegrates, there is little they can do, because that night in Verona set off a tangled web of lies they are powerless to stop. Previous family secrets and problems rise inexorably to the surface; but the Plant siblings cannot turn back time.
The central question tugging at the reader throughout this clever thriller is what would YOU do? How far would you go to protect YOUR family? Would you bury a body? The ongoing fear of detection, and horror at what they have done, haunts the siblings throughout. There’s also a fabulous twist in this book that I defy anyone to see coming! A great read, and a horrible warning to anyone planning a family holiday abroad this year.