Andrew Taylor

Crime and Historical Novelist

A Stain on the Silence

A Stain on the Silence
"A book bursting with good things" Independent

It used to be said of Harold Macmillan that as prime minister he marched steadily towards the left, with his eyes to the right. During the last ten years I have sometimes felt that as a crime novelist I have been lurching steadily forwards with my eyes looking backwards over my shoulder. From the middle of the 1990s, after The Four Last Things, all my novels have been set in the past, mainly in the 1950s. The American Boy was set in the early nineteenth century. Steadily the urge grew on me to write a book about a place that had not existed when I wrote The Four Last Things - this brave new world of ours where mobiles chatter and trill like birds, CCTV cameras perch on every corner, and people go googling on svelte laptops that no longer need to be attached to the rest of the world with wires.

Out of this came A Stain on the Silence. The novel starts from three very simple premises: what if a childless man in his forties discovers that he has a daughter, the result of an affair 25 years earlier? What if the daughter is pregnant? And what if she's on the run for murder?

Though the setting is contemporary, the themes and dilemmas of the novel are as universal as love and death. It's a book about children and parents, and especially about missing children - children who are lost; children who are stolen, children who lose themselves, and children who haunt the minds of those who do not have them.

Click here to read an extract

Selected Reviews

"It's the high level of emotional literacy, coupled with Taylor's beautifully controlled style, that makes this book a page-turning, one-sitting read from a master of psychological suspense." Laura Wilson, Time Out

"A beautifully constructed novel, one of Taylor's best."  Margaret Cannon, Toronto Globe and Mail

"Unusual and memorable." Jessica Mann, Literary Review

"The story displays Taylor's usual skilful plotting and characterisation as it moves between past and present, gradually exposing long-hidden secrets." Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph

"Taylor is brilliant at capturing teenage angst... [he] excels not only in narrative control, but in depth of characterisation. He is also among a select rank of male writers in his ability to empathise with female characters." Jane Jakeman, Independent

"...this very readable, fast-moving thriller" Digby Durrant, Spectator

"Andrew Taylor is British crime fiction's best kept secret." Declan Hughes, Irish Times

"Taylor is a formidable craftsman..."  Yvonne Klein, Reviewing the Evidence

"there is plenty to engage the reader in the roller-coaster plot that twists and turns until the very last page" Big Issue

"A Stain on the Silence is likely further to expand this fascinating writer's readership."  Martin Edwards, Tangled Web

"A highly impressive book which truly deserves to rank highly in the crime genre."