I read The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett last year and absolutely loved it, so I was very excited to read her third book – The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels. If you have read any of her other work, you will know the novel isn’t written in prose as you might expect. You are examining a variety of documents here, so the story is told in WhatsApp messages, emails, newspaper cuttings, Twitter messages, pages from novels and so on. But don’t let that put you off! You’ll soon get into it and you’ll find it a compelling format.
Amanda Bailey is a true crime author, who decides to revisit the Alperton Angels case from the early 2000s. The baby involved is turning eighteen, so if they can find her and interview her, Amanda will be able to report a completely new side to the case which has remained in the public eye. She soon discovers that fellow journalist Oliver Menzies is also working on a book on the same subject, so they form a kind of unhappy alliance to work together, if they must.
As you read through all the documents, you learn about the case and join in with trying to solve the mysteries surrounding it – who were Holly and Jonah? Where are they now? Why did they get involved in the cult? Where’s the baby nowadays? You also follow Amanda’s thought processes and how she finds her sources.
Meanwhile, is Oliver taking all this Alperton Angels business far too seriously?
The book reels you in so you too are investigating the case and hoping to find answers. The last hundred pages or so were absolutely unputdownable, I couldn’t wait to turn the page and find out more answers! What really happened that night of the massacre?
My only teeny-tiny criticism of this otherwise amazing book is that I wasn’t happy the author used the name of a real member of the Royal Family. I felt that was unnecessary and a fictional Royal could have been used instead.
But absolutely everything else about this book is spot on! It’s intriguing, compelling and – as always with Janice Hallett’s writing – incredibly clever. I’ll be at the front of the queue for her next one…
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…