Sunday 5 February 2023

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels - Janice Hallett

Open the safe deposit box.
Inside you will find research material for a true crime book.
You must read the documents, then make a decision.
Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?

Everyone knows the sad story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl and convinced her that her newborn baby was the anti-Christ. Believing they had a divine mission to kill the infant, they were only stopped when the girl came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than stand trial, while mother and baby disappeared into the care system.

Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed; if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby's trail.

As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker and stranger than they'd ever imagined. And the story of the Alperton Angels is far from over.

From the bestselling author of The Appeal and The Twyford Code comes a stunning new mystery for fans of Richard Osman and S.J. Bennett. The devil is in the detail... 

What did I think?

I absolutely loved Janice Hallett's debut novel, The Appeal, written in the epistolary format of letters, emails and texts so I already knew what to expect with her third novel, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels.  It's incredibly intriguing to be presented with all the evidence and to try to work it all out for yourself, although I didn't manage to predict anything that happened in this extraordinary novel.

The Alperton Angels story has remained a mystery for 18 years.  What really happened the night the 'angels' died?  Where is the baby that narrowly escaped being sacrificed?  That's what true-crime author Amanda Bailey intends to find out.

I didn't really like the main character of Amanda, but I think it's simply because I find journalist types to be ruthless and sneaky as they will do anything to get the story.  I really liked the competition between Amanda and Oliver, who have both been tasked with writing a book on the Alperton Angels.  There is clearly some history between them which adds another layer of intrigue to the story.

I loved Ellie who is transcribing all of Amanda's recordings, often recorded surreptitiously (see what I mean about journalists being sneaky?).  Ellie can't help adding her own comments and opinions to the transcription and it often made me laugh.

There is so much information to dig through in the form of letters, emails, texts, scripts and book excerpts that you really feel as if you're part of the case.  I am completely in awe of Janice Hallett; she is an incredibly talented writer to not only write a captivating and intriguing plot but to create several styles of writing as if many different people had written the material.  

Cunning, clever and compelling, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels is as impossible to predict as it is to put down; prepare to be up all night reading this one.  Five stars feel woefully inadequate to rate this book and I can't recommend it highly enough.

I received a gifted hardback copy for the Tandem Collective readalong and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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