A woman accused of murder attempts to solve her own case from the confines of prison — but as she unravels the truth, everything is called into question, including her own certainty that she is innocent.
Because of that lack of empathy at the start, the early part of this book can be hard going, but as Tabitha begins work on her defence the narrative gathers pace and drags the reader along for the ride. Gradually we learn Tabitha’s back story and suddenly things aren’t so cut and dried. The prison scenes are a little predictable...but her approach is anything but predictable... and it makes for entertaining reading.There are moments of brilliance in House of Correction , and early misgivings aside, this David and Goliath story is cleverly plotted and ultimately a satisfying read. Some of the characterisation is a bit two-dimensional, but Tabitha stands out from the crowd and eventually pulls the reader firmly onto her team.
Despite featuring a traditional murder mystery plot, there is one unique twist to the proceedings: the accused is acting as her own attorney. The novel works quite well, with superbly written courtroom scenes that not only advance the story but also accurately point out the reason why self-representation is a dangerous and difficult undertaking ... One of the book’s striking elements is French’s portrayal of the prison environment where Tabitha spends most of her time ... It is interesting to see Tabitha manipulate the system through her own representation, acquiring the tools necessary to prepare for court ... House of Correction is an enjoyable mystery that offers unique views of the legal system and is a refreshing change of pace for readers of this genre.
The writing team of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French delivers another winner (following The Living Room, 2019), combining an impeccably constructed, secrecy-prone English village with masterful plotting and an indefatigable protagonist who carries on, no matter the cost.