What the blurb says: From the publisher of Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project, the first in a new series of distinctive, standalone crime stories, each with a literary bent.
In 1950s London, a literary agent finds fame when he secretly steals a young woman’s brilliant novel manuscript and publishes it under his own name, Lewis Carson. Two days after their meeting, the woman is found strangled on Peckham Rye Common: did Lewis purloin the manuscript as an act of callous opportunism, or as the spoils of a calculated murder?
When Sara Hunt from Saraband Books asked me if I wanted to read the debut book “The Paper Cell”, from Louise Hutcheson, I have to say I was intrigued by both the cover and the blurb. It was very different from my usual fast paced, chilling reads but there was just something about this novella that called to me and I was so glad that I listened to the call!
The plot centres around a very topical area in the book world, plagiarism and tells the story of Lewis Carson who steals a manuscript and passes if off as his own work! Switching effortlessly between London in the 1950s with Carson as a young man and Edinburgh in the 1990s where he is reflecting on the choices he made and the prison that those choices built for him, “A Paper Cell” is a fascinating narrative exploring guilt, secrecy and the impact of lifestyle choices in a very different 1950s society. I found myself pondering for a long time over Carson’s motivation for making the choice that he did and found it more fascinating as the author is involved in the publishing world which gives this book that certain extra little Je ne sais quoi!
If you are looking for blood, terror and fast paced then this is perhaps not the read for you – or maybe you should take a wee leaf out of my book and take a step off the rollercoaster for just a couple of hours and try something different – I did and I was not disappointed!
At just over 100 pages, this is one that you can curl up on the sofa with a cuppa and some cake and just lose yourself in the midst of what felt like a modern-day Charles Dickens meets Agatha Christie with a little twist of Oscar Wilde thrown in to spice it up!
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Louise Hutcheson has a PhD in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow. She works in broadcast and digital media and is a freelance editor who has edited a number of crime novels and other fiction. Louise also created and runs a highly respected review site for new fiction. – See more at: http://saraband.net/sb-title/the-paper-cell/#sthash.g1GbL6DH.dpuf