Letters To My Daughter’s Killer by Cath Staincliffe
Constable & Robinson Ltd (hardback) 2014
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Grandmother Ruth Sutton writes to the man she hates more than anyone else on the planet: the man who she believes killed her daughter Lizzie in a brutal attack four years earlier. Ruth’s burden of grief and hatred, has only grown heavier with the passing of time, her avid desire for vengeance ever stronger. In writing to him Ruth hopes to exorcise the corrosive emotions that are destroying her life, to find the truth and with it release and a way forward. Whether she can ever truly forgive him is another matter – but the letters are her last, best hope.
Letters To My Daughter’s Killer exposes the aftermath of violent crime for an ordinary family and explores fundamental questions of crime and punishment. How do we deal with the very human desire for revenge? If we get justice does reconciliation follow? Can we really forgive those who do us the gravest wrong? Could you?
I hate you. My first letter, and that is all I want to say. I hate you. But those three words can barely convey the depth, the breadth, the soaring height of this hatred. Nearly four years, and what has taken me by surprise is that these feelings, of rage and the desire for vengeance, have not diminished but have grown. Time has not healed but stoked the fires. The hatred has been forged into something steely, into a rock so dense and heavy inside that I fear it is killing me too. Crushing me. Taking what is left of my life and leaching the goodness, the joy, the optimism from it. So I am writing to you, in the vain hope, for I think it is vain, that some communication can help me move beyond or around this pit of hate.
I loved Letters To My Daughter’s Killer. I cried several times while reading Staincliffe’s novel. Staincliffe offers us a crime novel with a difference. I loved the structure of Letters To My Daughter’s Killer. As the title suggests, the novel is written in the form of letters from Ruth to the man who murdered her daughter, Lizzie. Letters To My Daughter’s Killer is a different sort of crime novel. Crime novels generally focus on police procedures and deal with the detectives or group of detectives homing in on the killer. Letters To My Daughter’s Killer is a rare type of crime fiction that tells the story of the victim and the victim’s family. Staincliffe reveals fairly early who was charged with Lizzie’s murder. I usually hate it when a write lays all the cards on the table too soon before I can figure out the clues myself. Unusually so, this doesn’t lessen the impact of Letters To My Daughter’s Killer. Letters To My Daughter’s Killer packs an emotional punch. The closing chapters provide shocking revelations. I’ll be thinking about Letters To My Daughter’s Killer for a while.