THE LAST ROOM
Danuta Reah explains...
In 2009, I went to Poland, to Łódź, to attend a conference on Forensic Linguistics. I had been told that Łódź was a grey, run-down city, suffering from the economic collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of industry. No one in their right mind would visit it.
But I come from Sheffield, and that is exactly what people say about the Steel City, built on seven hills with its rivers, its industrial heritage and its woods and parklands, so I was prepared to give Łódź a chance.
The city I found was industrial and run down, but it was also beautiful. The mansions of the great industrialists still stand in the centre of the city, the old graveyards tell its story, and the great forest, Łagiewniki, comes right into the city. I fell in love with Łódź, with its flowers, its old buildings, its claim to the longest pedestrianised street in Europe, Piotrkowska, filled with shops, flowers and witty statues of the great and good from the history of the city, including Arthur Rubenstein sitting at his piano. And don't forget the Łódź Film School, where some of the greatest film makers of the 20th and 21st century trained. Łódź is a magic city.
I knew I wanted to set a novel here.
The Last Room
The Last Room is a crime novel with a death, an investigation and a puzzle that the reader can try to work out before the denouement. But is is also, and more importantly, a book about grief. The grief of a man who has lost his daughter, and the grief of a man who has lost the woman he loved. It is also a story about consequences: everything, in the end, connects.
Will Gillen travels to Łódź to find out why his daughter Ania, an expert witness in forensic linguistics, died. The police tell him she committed suicide jumping from a fifth storey window. She was facing disgrace and charges of perjury and Will can believe she might have been driven to this last despair.
But how can he be dispassionate when it is Ania's death he is investigating?
The Last Room was published by Caffeine Nights on 5 June 2014.
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