Book review: Too Close for Comfort by Eleanor Moran

Too Close for Comfort byEleanor Moran
Too Close for Comfort byEleanor Moran
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Why would a young mother deliberately throw herself from the top of a multi-storey car park… and why are her friends reluctant to talk?

Mia Cosgrove, the high-flying psychotherapist we first met in Eleanor Moran’s taut thriller, A Daughter’s Secret, has her work skills – and her emotions – tested to the limit when she is called on to help unravel the dark secrets of a tight-knit group of middle-class mothers.

Author and Bafta-nominated TV producer Moran delivers another clever and intriguing tale of death and deception as she delves into the destructive fall-out from a claustrophobic friendship that spills over into rivalry, double dealing and bitterness.

Psychotherapist Mia Cosgrove has moved in with her lawyer boyfriend Patrick O’Leary, marriage is on the cards and they are already trying – albeit unsuccessfully so far – for a baby before 38-year-old Mia’s body clock finally runs out of time.She enjoys her work with a thriving London practice but when she receives a desperate phone

call from her oldest friend Lysette in rural Cambridgeshire she puts her life on hold to rush to her side to offer comfort and support.

Sarah, a young mother and friend of Lysette’s, has plunged to her death from the top of a multi-storey car park, leaving a text message on her phone next to her, simply saying ‘I’m sorry’ with a single X, left unsent and unaddressed.

At first everybody, including the police, are convinced it’s a suicide but when another death rocks the small village, Mia is asked to help the ramped-up investigation but is reluctant knowing that her closeness to Lysette could compromise her impartiality.

Mia has also noticed something strange and unsettling about the intensity of the grief of Lysette’s friendship group. Why are the close-knit mothers who surrounded Sarah so reluctant to share what they knew about their wild, beautiful but troubled friend?

Soon Mia finds herself excavating a perilous story of secrets and lies, and wondering how far she is prepared to go and what price she will have to pay for her determination to unearth the truth and discover what really happened…

Moran is not afraid to peer into some of the murkiest corners of both society and the human psyche in a terrific, twisting tale that explores the dangerous dynamics of a fascinating but fatally flawed friendship group.

Too Close for Comfort is a compelling, character-driven story, carefully plotted, brimming with tension, mystery and menace, and offering an acutely observant slant on the often fraught relationships that are the bedrock of both family and social life.

An absorbing and intelligent page-turner…

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)