The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham

The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry BinghamFiona Griffiths possesses a razor sharp intellect professionally but can only display emotional detachment in her personal life. It is these character traits which both drive and constrain her in a quest to understand where she came from and the challenges she confronts in her police career.

The author’s clear and methodical narrative mirror the central character’s approach to tracking down the key protagonists in a payment fraud which is both audaciously clever and brutally violent. The cause of an apparently insignificant death of a woman in an isolated Welsh cottage is painstakingly traced back to a complex criminal operation which ultimately culminates in an explosive and suspense filled denouement.

This is the third Fiona Griffiths novel from Oxford based author Harry Bingham but it feels like we are still no closer to understanding the true character of the eponymous detective. As an undercover police officer Griffiths assumes the identities first of Fiona Grey and then of Jessica Taylor. Much like an accomplished method actor she morphs effortlessly into each personality but the ease to which she makes these transitions calls into question who she really is and what she really wants out of In many ways her key adversary Henderson becomes a catalyst for questioning her true feelings for her fiancé and the fine line an undercover detective treads between upholding the law and being subverted by the criminal mind. The notion of Stockholm syndrome is certainly evident in the sexual tension that both find difficult to suppress as the case reaches its climax.

Bingham’s skill is in building up and dismantling a complex character who will never be rounded but still aspires to normality but this descriptive process is given a twist when we learn that Griffiths suffered from Cotards syndrome as a teenager which leave the patient feeling as if they are dead.

This revelation is a key piece in the Griffths character jigsaw as we realise that in many ways she has been reborn but is still struggling to live. Needless to say in finding a way to live this character will undoubtedly have further crimes to solve.

The Strange Death of  Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham.
Published by Orion £12.99


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