The Better Sister is another classy slice of psychological drama from Alafair Burke. Chloe Taylor, a prize-winning publisher, is married to her estranged sister Nicky’s former husband, Adam, and has brought up their son, Ethan. When Adam is murdered in the family’s home, Ethan falls under suspicion – “Whatever test she had in mind for how a kid should act when he hears his father’s been murdered, Ethan had failed it, and now the police were going to put our family under a microscope” – and the troubled Nicky comes back into her life.
Although the odd hole in the plot is discernible, for the most part this is a highly accomplished and absorbing blend of psychological and courtroom thriller. Burke sets herself an exacting test of technique — Chloe’s first-person account has to at once destroy her in our eyes and solicit our admiring complicity in her flinty efforts to regain control of her life — and somehow pulls it off. A film adaptation must be on the cards.