‘The Breaker’ is Minette Walters’ 6th novel. Like all of her books that I’ve read, the plot forms a fairly minor part of the book, with the real impact being in getting inside the heads of the main characters.
Two young boys ‘borrow’ their father’s binoculars to spy on a naked lady on the beach. Eventually they realise that she’s dead. When PC Nick Ingram arrives at the scene, he meets the two boys, Steve Harding – an out of work actor who phoned the police for the boys, and Maggie Jenner – a local who was riding her horse in the area.
Meanwhile, in a neighbouring town, a three year old girl is found wandering on her own. The child is eventually identified as Hannah Sumner and the dead woman as her mother Kate.
There are three main suspects in Kate’s murder. Her husband William is a strange man and it is difficult to determine if he ever loved Kate or Hannah. Steve Harding knew Kate better than he originally told the police. He seems almost incapable of telling the truth. Steve’s friend Tony Bridges is a school teacher who seems to be permanently drunk or high. He also knew Kate better than he is prepared to admit.
As the police go through the process of collecting evidence and questioning suspects, we find out about the lives of the suspects as well as Kate and Hannah, Maggie Jenner and her mother and PC Nick Ingram.
This was an excellent book that had me guessing right till the end. I enjoyed the atmosphere created by both the characters and the location – the Dorset coast. We got to find out more about some of the characters than we really wanted to know – there were some fairly unsavoury details.
Minette Walters is a master of psychological thrillers. I always enjoy her books and I’m looking forward to reading the next one on my list – ‘The Shape of Snakes’.
Book Published 1998