ELANOR DYMOTT Every Contact Leaves A Trace

ISBN 13: 9780099563594

Every Contact Leaves A Trace

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9780099563594: Every Contact Leaves A Trace

“Gorgeous . . . a murder mystery that’s also a brilliant meditation on love and memory and loss.”―Maile Meloy

Elanor Dymott’s gorgeous debut tells the story of Alex, a solitary lawyer who has finally found love in the form of his beautiful wife, Rachel. When Rachel is brutally murdered one midsummer night on the grounds of their alma mater, Worcester College, Oxford, Alex’s life as he knows it vanishes.

He returns to Oxford that winter, and, through the shroud of his shock and grief, tries to piece together the mystery surrounding his wife’s death. Playing host to Alex’s winter visit is Harry, Rachel’s former tutor and trusted mentor, who turns out to have been involved in almost every significant development of their relationship. Alex also turns to Evie, Rachel’s self-centered and difficult godmother, whose jealousy of her charge has waxed and waned over the years. And then there are her university friends, Anthony and Cissy, who shared with Rachel her taste for literature and for the illicit.

As he delves further into the mystery surrounding her death, Alex discovers in Rachel’s wake a tangled web of sex and jealousy, of would-be lovers and spiteful friends, of the poetry of Robert Browning, and of blackmail. Brilliantly written and suffused with eroticism, mystery, and a hint of menace, Every Contact Leaves A Trace introduces a stunning new voice in contemporary fiction.

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About the Author:

Elanor Dymott was born in Zambia. She studied literature at Worcester College, Oxford, later working in London and Southeast Asia as a lawyer and legal reporter. She lives in London.

From Booklist:

Much like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (1992), Dymott’s debut novel is set in academia and features a neurotic group of friends. Alex Petersen, a successful lawyer and graduate of Worcester College, Oxford, is in the grip of grief after his young wife, Rachel, is killed during a school reunion. As Alex investigates her murder, becoming more well acquainted with her mentor, caring English professor Harry, and her aloof and difficult aunt, Evie, Alex realizes that he didn’t really know his wife. She had complicated dealings with the other two students in her Browning seminar, composed of equal parts scholarship and debauchery, and he suddenly realizes that she went to great lengths to keep him in the dark about the nature of her relationships. Dymott proves skillful on a number of fronts, including conjuring the mysteries of human nature and the cloistered environment of an elite university, but this novel would have been twice as good at half the length. Still, the author’s deft evocation of mood and place marks her as a writer to watch. --Joanne Wilkinson

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