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A Commonplace Killing

A Commonplace Killing

A Novel

On a damp July morning in 1946, two schoolboys find a woman’s body in a bomb site in north London. The woman is identified as Lillian Frobisher, a wife and mother who lived in a war-damaged terrace a few streets away.

The police assume that Lil must have been the victim of a vicious sexual assault; but the autopsy finds no evidence of rape, and Divisional Detective Inspector Jim Cooper turns his attention to her private life.

How did Lil come to be in the bomb site – a well-known lovers’ haunt? If she had consensual sex, why was she strangled? Why was her husband seemingly unaware that she had failed to come home on the night she was killed?

In this gripping murder story, Siân Busby gradually peels away the veneer of stoicism and respectability to reveal the dark truths at the heart of postwar austerity Britain.


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  • Atria Books/Marble Arch Press | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476730295 | 
  • September 2013
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Read an Excerpt

A Commonplace Killing 1
That neglected triangle where the Camden, Holloway and Caledonian Roads intersect, long oppressed by soot and the continuous rumble of the railway, its bounds set by the gloomy bulk of the women’s prison and the desolation of the empty Livestock Market, had been done for long before the Hitler War blasted every last vestige of respectability to smithereens. From the tops of buses you could see how, in other parts of town, the bomb-sites had been transformed by clumps of fireweed, willow-herb and... see more

About the Author

Siân Busby

Siân Busby, an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and filmmaker, was married to the BBC Business Editor Robert Peston and the mother of two sons. Author of the highly acclaimed historical novel McNaughten, she died in 2012.

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