My admiration for husband and wife writing team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French knows no bounds. Just before my husband took up a new post in France we spent a month working in the same office at home. It did not work. He drove me mad pacing about and talking at top volume on the phone, while he couldn’t stand my cluttered workspace (he’s a fan of the clean desk policy) and leaning towers of books.
But Gerrard and French are an inspiration to working couples everywhere. They’ve been married for more than 20 years and in that time, as well as writing separately, they’ve turned out a cracking run of stand-alone thrillers under the pseudonym of Nicci French. Gerrard writes in the attic of their Suffolk home while French works in a shed in the garden. Most of the time they write alternate chapters and email them back and forth until they’re happy with them.
I’ve read quite a few of their books but I reckon their latest is the best. Blue Monday, now out in paperback, is a completely new departure - the first in a series of eight crime novels starring psychotherapist Frieda Klein.
In her late 30s, Frieda is an insomniac who walks the streets of London in the dead of night, drinks whisky and much to the irritation of her office, doesn’t own a mobile phone. The first book of the series focuses on a child abduction case and isn’t for the faint-hearted. But it’s a classy, nerve-jangling and addictive read, with the promise of more Frieda Klein stories to come. The second, Tuesday’s Gone, is out in July and I can’t wait.
Blue Monday by Nicci French (Penguin, £6.99)