Rose Tremain is an extraordinary writer. She writes quite beautifully, and is completely unclassifiable with an output ranging from historical fiction such as Music & Silence and, my particular favourite of all Ms Tremain's books, the wonderful Restoration to books on social issues such as Sacred Countryand, more recently, The Road Home.

Her latest novel Trespass takes her in a completely new direction again. This time we're in the world of crime fiction with a macabre tale of revenge set in the mountains of the Cevennes. As with all of Rose Tremain's novels the setting is richly atmospheric. It's a cleverly told tale with a definite twist on your standard detective story. It's not clear for some time who was the murderer - has murder even been committed? The story has multiple narrators but Rose Tremain blends these together seamlessly, what could potentially be confusing becomes an increasingly important aspect of the novel as the thoughts of the innocent are compared with the thoughts of the guilty - they are often uncomfortably close together.

Darkly menacing and ultimately nihilistic, the novel focuses on the darker side of human nature, and how passion, whether for land, objects or a particular person can drive it. The title Trespass is interesting in itself referring not just to the act of trespass whether on land, or infringing on emotions or relationships, but also in the sense of sin as in "Forgive us our trespasses". It's not my favourite Tremain, but it's cleverly written, and definitely a new take on the detective story.


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