In Review

Novel of the week: Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet

This book is a ‘page-turning blast’: funny, sinister and perfectly plotted

“Graeme Macrae Burnet is a master of the false but apparently authentic document,” said Allan Massie in The Scotsman. Such records featured heavily in His Bloody Project (2015), his Booker-shortlisted novel about a fictional 19th century murder. And they do so again in his “uncommonly interesting” new work. 

Case Study opens with Burnet informing us that he is writing a biography of the radical psychiatrist Collins Braithwaite, who “became a celebrity in the 1960s”, said Jake Kerridge in The Daily Telegraph.

Extracts from this biography follow, alternating with passages from notebooks supposedly sent to Burnet by a woman who believes that Braithwaite drove her sister to suicide. It’s a novel full of “tricksy contrivances”, but Burnet also brilliantly captures his characters’ voices.

From a description alone, Case Study might sound like a “punishing chin-stroker of a novel”, said James Walton in The Times. But it’s nothing of the sort. It’s a “page-turning blast”: funny, sinister and perfectly plotted. “Rarely has being constantly wrong-footed been so much fun.”

Saraband 288pp £14.99; The Week Bookshop £11.99

Case Study book cover
The Week Bookshop

To order this title or any other book in print, visit theweekbookshop.co.uk, or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

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