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In Beneath the Skin, Nicci French has created the summer thriller against which all this year's entries must be compared. A summer heat wave in London seems unending. Tempers flare, skies remain an industrial yellowish-gray, people collapse in the street. Unsettling and threatening letters, apparently from the same person, have been sent to three women from very different stations in life: Zoe, an attractive young schoolteacher; Jennifer, a glamorous 40-ish housewife; and Nadia, a children's entertainer. Each letter offers details about the women that only the most intimate insider would know. And each letter gets progressively more graphic and violent. Narrated in the first person, first by Zoe, then by Jennifer, then by Nadia, Beneath the Skin constructs a framework of terror and dread that baffles police, the intended victims, and certainly the reader. A summer must-read!
Bruce Tierney is a Nashville-based writer and mystery aficionado. He'll recommend the best in mysteries each month in a new column, "Whodunit?"