Sally Flint

SAL FLINT

Book Review of No One Saw A Thing
by Andrea Mara

No One Saw a Thing, by crime writer Andrea Mara, centers around a reunion in London of a well-off defense lawyer, Aaron, his wife Sive, and their three children with Aaron’s old university friends. Following the initial reunion, the plot focuses on the disappearance of Aaron and Sive’s eldest daughter Faye, who, along with her sister, gets separated from Sive on the underground. Sive gets left on the platform as the train door closes behind the girls. The authorities are immediately alerted to look for the girls, but only the two-year-old Bea disembarks at the next stop. The remainder of the story uses flashbacks and a detailed time analysis to unravel the truth about what has happened to Faye.

I’m only familiar with the realm of crime fiction through books being chosen for various book clubs I’m in. This was, for example, what led me to read Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs, which I found a slightly slower but more in-depth read. However, while No One Saw a Thing didn’t plunge me into terror, it captivated as a compelling page-turner with a skillfully woven plot.

In No One Saw a Thing, Mara ventures into the intricate world of ordinary people entwined in a sinister plot, with the perpetrator of the crime being true to the trope of being someone close to home.Mara’s narrative unfolded with twists and turns, which, although occasionally required me to backtrack to catch overlooked details, also added depth to my growing understanding of the genre.

The characters, while not endearing, fit the genre’s expectations, from the rich, arrogant, and cheating husband to the gullible wife and the initially pushy journalist, Jude, who surprises in the end. A notable twist towards the conclusion provides readers with ample material for contemplation. The exploration of how seemingly average individuals can commit malevolent acts adds a layer of complexity to the tale.

As I was reading No One Saw a Thing, I reflected on a recent podcast discussion I’d been listening to. In the podcast, Off Air with Fi and Jane, they reflected on the benefits of breezy easy insubstantial reads over more challenging deeper reads. I would say that No One Saw a Thing fits the ‘easy read category’ but did so successfully and achieved its intended aim. No One Saw a Thing features concise chapters with mini-cliffhangers, creating a swift and engaging reading experience. I didn’t think it delved as deeply into character development or motivation, but Mara’s novel stands strong within the genre of crime writing, and the plot was  well constructed.

Overall, I found No One Saw a Thing to be a compelling read. Mara’s storytelling prowess keeps the reader hooked until the very end. I completely understand why she has been shortlisted for Irish Crime Novelist of the year and why she so frequently is a Sunday Times, Irish Times, and Kindle Top Ten Selling Author.

Book Club Questions on No One Saw a Thing by Andrea Mara

 

How quickly were you able to deduce who was responsible for Faye’s disappearance?

Parental nightmares often involve a child going missing. How effectively did Mara convey the devastation and fear experienced by Faye’s mother?

Can you provide a summary of Sive’s character? Do you believe she was justified in withholding information about her unborn child from Joost?

Did you find any aspects of the story No One Saw a Thing unbelievable? Discuss.

In No One Saw a Thing, Nita stages a break-in to impress her social media followers. How well does the novel explore the world of influencers?

Was Dave truly wicked, and what motives do you believe drove his actions?

To what extent should minor characters share responsibility for the events in the story?

Were you anticipating the events that unfolded for Aaron at the story’s conclusion?

Who would you say who is the villain of the story No one Saw a Thing and why? Discuss.

Once you learned the full history of what happened between the university friends discuss which you found most surprising and why.

Book Club Questions on Andrea Mara’s No One Saw a Thing (if you haven’t read the book)

 

The novel frequently features a roofside bar. If you were to set a crime thriller, where would your chosen location be for any murders!?

In the book, Maggie drugs both herself and Faye to protect them. Would you be willing to risk your own life to help a child who wasn’t a relative?

What in your opinion, makes for a great thriller? It is often generalized that ‘the book is better than the film’. Do you think this is true of thriller writing?

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