it begins with the discovery of the body of a young Lithuanian hanging from a tree. It isn’t clear how the man got there and Manon’s investigation is complicated by his friends’ fear of a brutal gangmaster. The end of the novel is slightly messy, but Steiner combines a compelling plot with chilling social commentary.
With multiple narratives and much internal commentary, Remain Silent can seem a bit too discursive at times. But Manon holds it all together, solving crime while digressing on feminism and comfort eating (it’s no surprise that the denouement rests on the consumption of a lasagne). She is an ideal protagonist for our times, not a goddess but a detective of the domestic, interrogating what is essential or non-essential in everyday life.
The feisty female copper, juggling work and home life, is in danger of becoming a terrible crime fiction cliché. Thankfully Steiner’s wonderful DI Manon Bradshaw is a thoroughly believable character, exhausted and permanently worried.
This time she’s investigating the murder of a Lithuanian farmworker in the Cambridgeshire fens. Remain Silent casts a bright light on the neglected lives of desperately exploited migrants and resentful locals alike.
A twisting mystery of modern Britain.
As taut, classy and intelligent as Steiner’s previous novels, Remain Silent is also a portrait of a very real woman, one for whom the job isn’t everything, but who isn’t entirely fulfilled by motherhood either. “Perhaps life’s satisfactions reside more in a chickpea curry and bathing the baby than uncovering torsos in chest freezers,” she says.