cover image Fathers and Sins

Fathers and Sins

Jo Bannister, . . Severn, $27.95 (201pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-6598-4

In this intriguing novel of psychological suspense from Irish author Bannister (The Fifth Cataract ), six-year-old Matthew “Mouse” Firth is accused of starting a fire in his London home that permanently disfigures his mother, Ruth. In the aftermath of the tragedy, and despite Mouse’s serious developmental difficulties, his parents divorce. Years later, disaster strikes again when the van Mouse is driving crashes into a railway line, killing Ruth, who was his passenger. The police conclude that Mouse was operating the vehicle while under the influence, a suspicion that leads his father, Robin, to withdraw further from him emotionally. Robin’s fiancée, Agnes Amory, becomes Mouse’s sole defender, though she has her work cut out for her when the local church burns down shortly after Mouse is discharged from the hospital. Fans of Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters will find much to like, even if the ending is a little too tidy. (Apr.)