My Lurid Past

by Lauren Henderson

Saturday, October 26, 2002

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When I read anything that falls into the category of “chick-lit” I usually feel, first, guilty for enjoying it, as if the mysteries that I usually read are somehow a higher form of art than these books, and second, disappointed that it’s never as good or interesting as I’d like it to be. This however is a cracking read and is full of wonderful characters and well plotted to boot.

It should be noted that all Lauren Henderson’s books up to this one have been mysteries and that I’ve enjoyed them all. I did find some of the mysteries to be a little weak in the plot department but I think a mystery is intrinsically harder to plot than a book that doesn’t contain an investigation that needs to bear some semblance to reality. Turning her hand to a non-mystery though Henderson shows exactly why I think mystery writers are better than most every other writer out there.

As with her Sam Jones’ mysteries Henderson creates a great cast of characters here. The narrator is Juliet, a thirty-three year old working in public relations who has just realised that a life of casual sex and takeaways isn’t doing it for her any more. Her star client at the moment is a newly famous TV chef who seemed very much modelled on Jamie Oliver without the wife and baby and with a wild side that allows him to actually get naked. Her best friends are a corsetted dominatrix and an unhappily married Sloane. In summary they sound a bit like stereotypes but they never seem stereotypical. Henderson fleshes them out more than enough to make you believe that they are real people with real lives, real problems and she creates real drama with them.

In short, I was looking forward to reading this but expecting it to fall short of what it could be. I’m glad it didn’t and I really look forward to seeig what the author can do next.