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The Cradle in the Grave (Zailer & Waterhouse Series #5)

The Cradle in the Grave (Zailer & Waterhouse Series #5)

2.7 11
by Sophie Hannah

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“A perfectly executed psychological thriller” (The Guardian) from the internationally bestselling author of The Wrong Mother and The Other Woman’s House

Television producer Fliss Benson is surprised to discover that her superstar boss, Laurie Nattrass, is stepping down from his post. She’s even more surprised


“A perfectly executed psychological thriller” (The Guardian) from the internationally bestselling author of The Wrong Mother and The Other Woman’s House

Television producer Fliss Benson is surprised to discover that her superstar boss, Laurie Nattrass, is stepping down from his post. She’s even more surprised that he asks her to take over his documentary about crib-death mothers wrongly accused of murder. Thanks to Laurie’s advocacy, three women are now free, while the doctor who testified against them is under investigation for misconduct. Then one of the mothers is found dead. In her pocket is a card with sixteen numbers on it, arranged in four rows of four- exactly like the anonymous card Fliss has just received in the mail.

The fifth book in Sophie Hannah’s beloved Zailer and Waterhouse series, The Cradle in the Grave combines the puzzle of a Golden Age mystery with a masterful tale of psychological suspense that Tana French and Laura Lippman fans will love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hannah focuses on the dangerous gray area between guilt and innocence in her provocative fifth mystery featuring Det. Sgt. Charlotte "Charlie" Zailer and Det. Constable Simon Waterhouse of the Culver Valley police (after The Dead Lie Down). When TV producer Felicity "Fliss" Benson receives an anonymous card with 16 numbers on it, she's puzzled, but she soon has bigger worries. Her boss, famed investigative journalist Laurence "Laurie" Nattrass, suddenly puts her in charge of his BBC documentary on the "miscarriages of justice" surrounding women falsely accused of murdering their children. One of the documentary subjects is Helen Yardley, convicted of killing her two infant sons, whom she claimed were victims of crib death. When Helen, whose conviction was later overturned, is murdered and an identical number card is found on her body, Fliss fears the killer is targeting those connected to the documentary. Hannah merges her myriad story lines with practiced ease. 10-city author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Within the span of a week, a crazed killer has gripped London by attacking mothers who have been convicted—and acquitted—in a sensationalist rash of crib death cases. One of the victims is known for her heartrending memoir and is also the centerpiece of an in-progress TV documentary. A puzzle card is left on her body; the same card is mailed to the TV producers. Fliss Benson, the producer in charge of the project, becomes pivotal to the case, running somewhat parallel with the intrepid detectives Simon Waterhouse, Sam Kombothekra, and Charlie Zailer (The Dead Lie Down). VERDICT Hannah's frenetically paced psychological thriller is a searing indictment of our judicial system and the media's role in fueling collective hysteria. Known for combining her police procedurals with woman-in-peril suspense novels, she again succeeds in scaring our shoes off. Readalikes to consider would be Nicci French and Joy Fielding.
Kirkus Reviews

What happens after the jury gets it wrong. Or does it?

For reasons he declines to illuminate, Laurie Nattrass suddenly leaves Binary Star Productions and hands over the documentary he's been working on for several years to Fliss Benson, who would rather not be saddled with it. The feature focuses on the misguided testimony of pathologist Judith Duffy, which sent two woman to prison for murdering their children, and Laurie's investigation, which got the doctor stricken from the medical rolls, set the mothers free, and led to the acquittal of another mother up on the same charges. Not only does the documentary bring up a tragedy within Fliss' family, but two of the mothers are now having doubts about participating. Then one of them is attacked, another is murdered, and someone leaves cards with 16 identical numbers arranged in four rows of four at the crime scenes and sends one to Fliss. DI Gil Proust, DC Simon Waterhouse and his partner Charlie Zailer (The Truth-Teller's Lie,2010, etc.) step in to determine whether a vigilante has decided that the juries were right the first time around in determining that these were not unassisted crib deaths, a conclusion shared by the husband of one of the mothers. A tell-all memoir holds clues, but before they can be deciphered, more complications arise.

Hannah, who understands every neurotic twitch, blemish and lie a person is capable of, is just the thing for those who followed the Casey Anthony murder trial.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Zailer & Waterhouse Series , #5
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.29(w) x 8.01(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Sophie Hannah is the bestselling author of eight novels and is also an award-winning poet. Her new Hercule Poirot mystery, the first to be sanctioned by the Agatha Christie estate, will be published in September 2014. She lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and two children, and is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College.

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The Cradle in the Grave: A Novel 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
ShadowSeeker More than 1 year ago
If you've ever read a Sophie Hannah psychological thriller then you know what you're going to get. Having read all previously released novels by the author I was only mildly impressed. It's much the same thing of reading Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. You know the formula, so once you've read one, you know what to expect in the next. That is my biggest complaint about the novel. It follows the same cookie cutter format she's used in the other works. The story is mildly interesting. I found the arc to be believable, but I knew who did it after about the first third of the book. All I wanted to know was why and after four hundred pages, I didn't even care about that. I don't mind using a formula, but use your talents to trick me into believing it's something new and exciting. If this is your first time reading her books, then I'll still tell you to pick up the book and enjoy. It's a good book and well written, but after reading the others, it's a bit stale and underwhelming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a HUGE fan of this writer and looked ready for a good mystery with this book, but it fell short of the goal line. It was good (meeting back up with main characters Charlie and Simon) and so-so (mystery). I got hooked on her by reading The Dead Lie Down. Try that book first......you won't be sorry you did. Don't start with this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This should have been left out of the series. Seems as though it was written in a hurry
sandiek More than 1 year ago
A killer is on the loose in England and he has very specific targets. He is obsessed with the topic of women accused of killing their babies. Some of these women have been convicted, some found not guilty. Some have been released on appeal to a general consensus that they were innocent, while others have been released but may well have done the crime. The obsession spreads further to doctors who testified either for the prosecution or the defense, especially one doctor, who is about to have her license revoked due to her testimony in scores of these cases. Fliss Benson becomes entangled in this web due to her work. She works in television documentary production and is an assistant producer at a company whose star is determined to tell the story of these women. He perceives them all as innocent, and is instrumental in getting several released on appeal and in hounding the doctor who was instrumental in putting them behind bars with her expert testimony. Suddenly, the star decides to leave for another company and the documentary is dumped in Fliss’ lap. One of the released women is terrorized on the street and then another one is killed. The killer leaves a card with four rows of what appear to be random numbers on each of their bodies. Fliss is pulled even further into the mystery when she begins to receive the same cards with the same numbers. Can she solve the mystery before the killer targets her? Sophie Hannah has written a series of taut, engaging mysteries. The characterizations are fresh and striking. The interplay and politics in the police department are worth reading the book for, with the interesting character of DC Simon Waterhouse, a detective who can figure out the most complex motivations. This book was originally published in England as A Room Swept White. Readers of mysteries will be captivated and rush to read more of Hannah’s work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A poor read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buy if you are fan. A little hard to follow but that wont stop you from being up all night reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MedTech80 More than 1 year ago
This book was awful. There were way too many characters to keep track of and nothing about any of the supporting characters stuck out so that I could keep track of them. I felt as though I needed to take notes to keep track as they all blended together. The plot was all over the place. It was poorly written and clearly a smattering of short stories/ideas thrown into one book. There were too many loose ends in the end and zero point. I can usually read anything and be entertained, but this book proved to be the exception.