Welcome to Festivals’ Book Club, in association with Vintage Books. Each month, we’ll be reading a different title and would love you to join us: either at our live book group in Cheltenham, or by sharing your thoughts online.
- We’ll announce the title on cheltenhamfestivals.com and in that month’s e-newsletter
- You have four weeks to read it
- Cheltenham Festivals Member? Apply to take part in our LIVE Cheltenham group and receive a free copy of the book
- Like to purchase your own copy? Save 5% at Cheltenham Waterstones as a Cheltenham Festivals Member
- Four weeks later, read what our Book Group thought and add your own opinions and comments online
June Book Club:
Every Contact Leaves a Trace Elanor Dymott
A startlingly original blend of mystery, love story and emotional journey… not to be missed.
A note from the editor
It’s not very often you come across a manuscript that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Elanor Dymott’s astonishing debut novel did just that, and when colleagues began dropping me feverish emails I knew I wasn’t alone in my reaction. Part love story, part murder mystery, Every Contact Leaves a Trace is that rare thing: a gripping, chilling, heart-breaking story that makes your pulse race from the very first lines, and all told in the most exquisite and utterly arresting prose.
Beth Coates, Senior Editor, Jonathan Cape
Thursday June 13, The Daily Bean @ COOK, Bath Road, Cheltenham
Cheltenham Festivals Member? Apply for your free book and chance to attend.
Can’t attend? Save 5% on this title at Waterstones Cheltenham with Cheltenham Festivals Membership.
Elanor Dymott’s gorgeous debut tells the story of Alex, a solitary lawyer who has finally found love in the form of his beautiful wife, Rachel. When Rachel is brutally murdered one midsummer night on the grounds of their alma mater, Worcester College, Oxford, Alex’s life as he knows it vanishes.
He returns to Oxford that winter and, through the shroud of his shock and grief, tries to piece together the mystery surrounding his wife’s death. Playing host to Alex’s winter visit is Harry, Rachel’s former tutor and trusted mentor, who turns out to have been involved in almost every significant development of their relationship. Alex also turns to Evie, Rachel’s self-centered and difficult godmother, whose jealousy of her charge has waxed and waned over the years. And then there are her university friends Anthony and Cissy, who shared with Rachel her taste for literature and for the illicit.
As he delves further into the mystery surrounding her death, Alex discovers in Rachel’s wake a tangled web of sex and jealousy, of would-be lovers and spiteful friends, of the poetry of Robert Browning, and of blackmail. Brilliantly written and suffused with eroticism, mystery, and a hint of menace, Every Contact Leaves a Trace introduces a stunning new voice in contemporary fiction.
This is more than a murder mystery. It’s an examination of the subjectivity of accounts of truth. It’s a desperately moving love story about a lonely man who finds salvation in another only to have the idyll destroyed. Finally, it’s a tale of revenge, served cold and deadly.