Nicci French is one of the few crime authors whose work I’ve read up to date. Thursday’s Children is another quality instalment in the Frieda Klein series, sad in many different circumstances. Victims are chosen specifically because the perp knows no one will believe them. That the victims’ own mothers don’t believe their daughters goes to show that the perp was correct in that, and it says a lot about society. It’s depressing. There’s victim-blaming and victim-shaming, and it’s hard to read.
But this novel is less about daughters than it is about mothers:
-There’s a tiny subplot involving poor Sasha, who’s having a tough time.
-Frieda’s mother is dying, and even if she wasn’t, she’d still be unlikeable. Juliet Klein’s granddaughter has had her issues, “Because her mother’s a slut. Yes.”
-The most recent victim’s mother lashes out at Frieda: “Don’t you talk to me in that calm voice. You don’t understand. You’ll never understand. You’re not a mother. You’re just a machine. You don’t know what it feels like HERE.”
It’s that quote by Maddie that irks me the most. And it says a lot about society that unfortunately a lot of people would agree with her. Women who aren’t mothers, by choice or otherwise, are treated as a lower species, inhuman. And as a non-mother, I do take offence to that. It’s possible to be a mother without being obnoxious and derogatory about it, but unfortunately Maddie… That she’s a victim’s mother is no excuse for her to lash out at innocent people like Frieda.
Fingers crossed there’s a fifth Frieda Klein novel coming soon. I love catching up with the gang, especially Josef, the tradie with a heart of gold.