Right from young-adult fiction stories through fantasy to crime genres, Melina Marchetta never fails to stun her readers. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is one favourably received crime novel filled with heart-rending drama and cracking fusion of suspense. The book, which was first released in 2016, primarily focuses on Marchetta’s preferred audience—adolescent students. In this book, she infuses elements of suspense, mystery, and detection.
Book Summary by Kelly Moto
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil revolves around a suspended British Chief Inspector, Bish Ortley who receives news that a bus ferrying international students is bombed leading to the death of five students. His daughter was among the passengers on the bus. In a mortal panic, he hurriedly rushes to the scene (Calais) only to find out that a 17-year old girl, Violette LeBrac, has been singled out as a suspect. However, the girl has already vanished from the scene.
Thirteen years ago, Violette’s extended family was arrested for taking part in a deadly bombing of a supermarket. The attack led to the death of twenty-three people. Violette’s mother, Noor, was jailed for life after confessing that she was the one who built the bomb. Even though she has been living peacefully in London, the press latches into Violette’s family history to find the truth. While still contemplating on Violette’s whereabouts, they again notice that another student is missing too.
Bish now struggles to find her daughter, but again colossal suspense cloud his situation. The media becomes frantic about the whereabouts of Violette. What makes it worse is that everyone gets furious towards anyone missing at the scene. Bish seems not to find the reason behind the bombing and more so what happened thirteen years ago. He tries to figure out the kind of husband, cop and father he’s become after the death of his son.
For him to find the truth and locate the girl, he must win the confidence of her family and friends. He must find help from Violette’s mother who’s serving a life sentence in prison. The more he delves deep into the investigation, the more the thoughts of past crimes balloon his mind. Could it be revenge with Violette being the intended victim? Are French and British security detectives seeking to put the blame on Violette and consider her a terrorist? Several questions linger.
The novel presents a gripping sense of suspense filled with family drama. Marchetta is a gifted storyteller, and her book keeps her readers flipping pages for more. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a thrilling book and every character in it is unforgettable. It is a mix of lost children, human identity and real natural love.