Mags had been estranged from her brother Abe at the time of his accident. Their separation wasn’t due to having had a falling out; it was more that their lives had moved in very different directions. Confident Mags had followed her legal career to the U.S. and Abe, as Mags found out, had been content in his carer’s job and in creating a quieter life for himself that was far away from the memories of their horrific childhood. Mags does not accept that Abe tried to commit suicide by pitching himself off the building’s stairs. He had a fiancé, colleagues, and purpose. Moving into the atmospheric church complex herself, Mags extends her stay and slowly begins to find out who her brother had really been.
TATTLETALE is a bit of a muddy experience initially as the characters are established. As doubt begins to direct Mags in her investigations, the pace picks up and we are questioning everything that she has been told about the life of her brother. Mags is a terrific character (would love to see her again in another book) and the strength of her resolve drives TATTLETALE forward. The viewpoints of the two women are in such opposition to each other that we do not know who is presenting their true selves, and who is operating behind a mask. Secondary characters from the building all have their own memories of Abe and it is through these that Mags needs to sift in order to end this whole UK chapter and get back to her “real” life in the United States.
TATTLETALE around three quarters in takes a left turn and it is a little bewildering. It appears that the decision may have been made that the novel wasn’t long enough and so more was added to extend the work beyond what would have been its logical and natural end. The extra content and subsequent conclusion jars with the atmospheric tone carefully established in the first part of the book. Mags inserting herself in to Abe’s life with such determination versus the vague way in which Jody conducts her life is the real treat in TATTLETALE and the book is satisfyingly layered in such a way that you will want to see the resolution of every single thread the author has carefully introduced.