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Review of All Us Sinners by Katy Massey

Set in late 1970s Leeds, this debut crime novel takes place against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. It’s the story of Maureen who runs a brothel in the city. She has a good relationship with the sex workers who find solace in her establishment but when Bev’s son is found beaten to death, a familiar detective comes calling on Maureen...

From the blurb, I was led to believe that this novel would be a retelling of sorts; a novel that took the true crime story of the Yorkshire Ripper and placed his victim’s at the forefront. This is not what this book delivers. It centres mostly on the murder of a young man and the women affected by Peter Sutcliffe’s crimes act only as a side story. Whilst the author did strive to shine a light on 1970s attitudes towards women, and sex workers in particular, this only ever felt surface level for me and that was disappointing. Writing fiction with a true crime edge is a difficult arena to navigate and, for me, I think this missed the mark in that regard. However, Massey’s writing style, geographical and historical accuracy was good. I think, had the true crime aspect been removed, I would have had more space to enjoy the writer’s style here.

Reviewed by Abi.

All Us Sinners was published on 07/03/24 by Little Brown.

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