We meet Judy in a present-day prologue, when she’s about to be arrested in France on suspicion of two murders 20 years apart. Subsequent chapters trace her career as a lifelong grifter and thief — seducing her future husband, a rich widower, in 1980s Cape Cod, and stealing jewellery as a guest of friends in the 1990s and 2000s — and are interwoven with the same holidays or parties viewed from the perspective of her daughter, Francesca. After earlier novels that (in her words) combined “espionage and domestic noir”, Charlotte Philby might seem to have switched here, with her country-hopping, incorrigibly criminal, possibly sociopathic protagonist, to an English, female-centric reworking of Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley series. But The End of Summer turns out to be more subtle than that, and has many other facets: an updated Victorian family saga (specifically Lady Audley’s Secret); a time jigsaw; a multi-period historical novel, stretching from the 1960s to the 2020s; an evocation of having a beloved, infuriating parent who you know is living a lie. In short, an enthralling, multilayered triumph.

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