Like Clockwork by Margie Orford

First Published in 2006 by Oshun Books. Published in the United Kingdom in 2009 by Atlantic. 314 pages. Hardback ISBN: 978 1 84887 086 4.

Like Clockwork is Margie Orford’s first novel featuring award winning journalist Dr. Clare Hart. She is currently working in a new project about the trafficking of women through Africa. She also works part-time as a profiler for the police.

After an introduction the story opens when the first body of a girl is found and we know for sure that we will be facing a serial killer. Her throat has been precisely and meticulously severed and her body arranged in public. It just happens that Dr. Hart lives nearby and she is asked for help. Clare calls Inspector Riedwaan Faizal and asks him to come over to see the body, something doesn’t seem straight forward. But she doesn’t wait for his arrival. Clare and Riedwaan have an on and off relationship. The case also throws up memories of her twin sister’s rape.

Superintendent Phiri cast some doubts before handing the case to Inspector Riedwaan, due to his record of insubordination, alcohol and violence, but he is given a second chance. Phiri is more reluctant to let Clare on Riedwaan’s team since she is considered a loner and somebody difficult to work with, but he will give her a last chance too.

Then two additional bodies are found and a race against time starts when a fourth girl is gone missing. Is Dr. Clare Hart project somehow connected with these crimes?

Although quite readable I found, occasionally, that there are certain aspects of the plot which are very difficult to believe. Overall there is a certain lack of verisimilitude in the story that gets close to the absurd at certain stages. In general the book remains very much in the surface of the problem and lacks a more in depth analysis.

This is a contribution to 2010 Global Reading Challenge

For more information visit:
Margie Orford official web
International Noir Fiction

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