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It is a rainy Friday afternoon in an ordinary street in an ordinary English town. Billy Tyler, a policeman, sits in his car behind a misting windscreen, his little daughter's ballet shoes on the seat next to him, and turns on the radio. He listens, transfixed, to the news that one of Britain's most notorious murderers is dead. He thinks of the killer's face, by now sinisterly iconic: the dated blonde beehive, the sullen mouth, and that steady, defiant black stare. He thinks too of his own nine-year-old self, of the little boy he had been when the first reports of the killings came: those small bodies unearthed on the moors. Later comes the kind of phone call that Billy's wife - increasingly superstitious these days - dreads: he has been called in to sit with the murderer's corpse overnight, to protect it from a public loathing so strong that twenty mortuaries had refused to deal with the woman's body. During his all-night vigil he is visited by many different ghosts: of his past selves, of his young wife at the moment they met, of his tiny newborn daughter when he held her for the first time. And of a smoke-wreathed figure whose low, abrasive voice is somehow familiar and yet not familiar. Partly a story of love and how it changes over time, partly an exploration into the very nature of evil and how we deal with it culturally, Death of a Murderer is chilling, moving and unforgettable.

Death of a Murderer

  • Rupert Thomson
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