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Only the Innocent (DCI Tom Douglas #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,559 ratings  ·  342 reviews
THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER. When Laura Fletcher approaches her home in Oxfordshire to find hordes of photographers crowding the gates, she knows there is something terribly wrong. She is faced with the shocking news that her husband is dead - brutally murdered - and according to Chief Inspector Tom Douglas, there is little doubt that the murderer is a woman. In a marriage t ...more
Published March 1st 2012 by (first published November 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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A.C. Flory
The blurb that accompanied 'Only the Innocent' raised questions about women who commit apparently perfect, cold-blooded murder so I was primed for a story about a psychopath. The fact that this psychopath was going to be a woman merely added a touch of spice to my expectations. While the book did not disappoint me in the slightest, it did not turn out to be anything like what I was expecting.

The last thing I want to do is to spoil this story for anyone so all I will say is that 'a woman' did pla
Very disappointed in this book!
A strong opening chapter that draws attention, however the rest of the book is just boring!
The main character has such a weak, pathetic voice that is barely distinguishable to that of her ex sister in law.
Also, the poor attempt of trying to weave the background of the characters into the story through unsent letters is entirely unimaginative and boring, not to mention forced!
The author has not seemed to have mastered the fundamental rule of showing, not telling the
Richard Louden
I expected great things of a novel which reached the top of the Kindle charts. To some extent, Only the Innocent delivers. The murder plot is intriguing and its twists and turns are intelligently crafted. Rachel Abbott's writing is fluent and easy to read and the moral dilemma which lies at the heart of the novel is one to which any reader can relate.
That said, I have a few issues with it. The lead characters aren't sufficiently multi-dimensional. The murdered man, Sir Hugo, is so unremittingly
Terry Crawford Palardy
Rachel Abbott has written an incredible story with many layers of mystery. The tale of a young successful woman who captures the eye of a well known philanthropist and suddenly finds herself awaiting her wedding day with understandable anticipation. This cultured gentleman insists on handling all of the details for the ceremony and reception, which invites early disapproval from Laura's mother.

Seeing this as a step up in class, Laura struggles to accept her new husband's polite insistence on co
Mark Chisnell
Rachel Abbott’s Only the Innocent was one of the big independently-published hits of 2012, and I was intrigued to finally read it. The cover and blurb promise an edgy thriller, and there’s no doubt that all those elements are there – sex, abuse, murder. Nevertheless, the book still has a lot in common with a ‘cozy’ mystery, as the detective work revolves around the drawing room of an old manor house - but no, it wasn’t Colonel Mustard with the knife in the kitchen, the end was much darker than t ...more
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I read Sleep Tight first (apparently the third one in this series) quite by chance and was totally engrossed in it. Realising I had bought Only the Innocent some time ago and, for some unknown reason had overlooked it, I started reading it with relish as I had so enjoyed Sleep Tight. I also wanted to know more about the background of the wonderful and gorgeous, DCI Tom Douglas who I really like, and his sergeant, Becky Robinson.

I have to say I struggled with this one, sadly. I just felt like it
Rachel abbott is a talented writer who brings a lot of great tools to the table. She does a magnificent job of setting the scene, and providing beautiful prose for descriptions. Her attention to detail is to be admired.

This isn't my normal type of read, but my wife read this and loved it, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Rachel's characters are well painted with a good amount of depth. A few times I questioned whether one or the other would really act that way, but that is a subjective opinion,
Sir Hugo Fletcher is found murdered in his home, tied to the bed in such a way that the police are convinced that the perpetrator of the crime must be a woman. Sir Hugo's charity work made him famous for rescuing eastern european girls from prostitution and prociding somewhere for them to go but what of his private life? This begins to be revealed to us through a series of letters his second wife Laura wrote to her childhood best friend Imogen. The public figure and the private man don't match u ...more
Lee Holz
Only The Innocent is one of the best of the hundreds of British mysteries I’ve read. It is on a par with the best work of P.D. James and Elizabeth George. Like them, this book has elements of the classic Scotland Yard police procedural combined with an ingenious and skillfully handled plot and fully developed portraits of victims, suspects, detectives and other important characters that have real psychological depth. I cannot say much more without getting into spoilers, which would be a crime. S ...more
Absolutely awful. Absurd storyline, utterly unlike able characters and poorly written, how many times can you refer to their smile being insincere? The letters between the 2 friends were ridiculous, no one write to a friend in that way. I got this book based on the 5 star reviews it's received, I really can not understand who would ever rate this book highly, rubbish!
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
Only the Innocent tells the story of Lady Laura Fletcher and her husband Sir Hugo Fletcher, a philanthropist who, amongst his many interests, aids a charity helping Eastern European young women who have been brought to Britain under false pretences with hollow promises of modeling and a better life, only to find themselves exploited for prostitution. The charity effectively buys the women from those holding them and places them with families, in order to give them the opportunity to establish th ...more
Rebecca Heath
When Sir Hugo Fletcher, wealthy philanthropist, is found murdered during what appears to be a bizarre sex game turned nasty, the police and public are baffled that anyone would want to kill the beloved head of the Allium Foundation, an organization dedicated to rescuing women from a life of prostitution.

On questioning the victim's family and associates, however, it's revealed that to know Sir Hugo was not to love him; in fact, those closest to to him admit they would cheerfully have murdered the
Marguerite Kaye
This didn't work for me. Too many POVs, and done in such a way that you get a lot of internal narrative at a cost to 'showing'. I think if it had been limited to one or two of the main protagonists, it would have worked better, and I wouldn't have got so irritated at the constant shifting. Like a couple of the other reviewers, I really didn't like the way that letters were used to tell the back story - the way the letters were written, apart from anything else, made it clear they weren't really ...more
Robin Webster
Sir Hugo Fletcher is found murdered in his home and tied to the bed in such a way that it is obvious to the police that sex games were involved which leaves them convinced that the perpetrator of the crime must be a woman. Sir Hugo was very controlling in his relationships, particularly within his marriage to Lady Fletcher. As the book develops we begin to see what a dangerous and destructive character Sir Hugo really was. I felt the book started really well but as it went on I found there was a ...more
Beverly Drake
I cannot believe how many people have highly rated this tediously written book. I quite enjoyed Back Road and so decided to read Only the Innocent ...a total disappointment.

The tragic thing is she has wasted an opportunity to really explore issues that are very prevalent in today's society- those of human trafficking, child sex abuse and prostitution. It almost seemed trivialised.
I am sure that was not Rachel Abbbots objective but really Rachel if you want to write about these topics at least
Desley (Cat fosterer)
A wealthy man (a Sir) is killed, and due to his charity work, the police have a hard task finding someone who would want to kill him.

I am amazed that this book is a debut, it was so engrossing and really kept the suspense up until the end, although after finishing you realised that there were very subtle clues along the way. I had a couple of days being very tired at work due to not being able to put this book down!! The ending was a bit of a shock though. Would make a fantastic TV drama, and w
Spellbindingly good. It was hard to put this book down. A gripping tale of depravity, innocence lost, power, influence, protection, and yes love.

Rachel Abbott paints a life so forlorn and perversely depraved that the only way out was permanently put an end to it all. She paints a very clear and vivid picture of the lead characters - Laura, Hugo, Tom, Imogene,,, that you really get a sense of who these people are. The most effective character of all though ..l is the house, the location of where
Barry Doughty
I can see by the majority of reviews I am in the minority with this one and I’m sorry but if it was meant to be a murder mystery I’m afraid the mystery was depleted by its glaring predictability. I read this book on a kindle and found myself willing the percentage line at the bottom of the screen to move faster. The only emotion this stirred in me was when Laura, the main character, puts up with so much sick and disgusting behaviour, from her husband that I really wanted to punch her myself. Sor ...more
Karen B.
A good mystery

This was a good mystery in that I had my suspicions right up to the end as to who did in the wonderful Sir Hugo. Although some reviewers didn't care for the technique, I enjoyed learning about the past twelve years of his life through letters written but never sent. What really gave me a problem was reading about his cruelty, particularly his psychological cruelty. The more I read, the more I felt like many of the character's....I was glad he was dead! Right up to his death he was
Another review said its not just about who did but why. I couldn't say it better.
Just when you think u know who' dun it', another layer is revealed. I don't want to give anything away but I rate this 4.5 stars. A must read for those who love a well told story, filled with believable dialogue, a clever way to get the back-story, and action. It would be a great movie, too.
I’ve been really looking forward to this book, having heard great reviews via twitter and goodreads. And, coincidentally, the day I picked it up it had made it to number one in the Amazon kindle chart.

So… this book starts with the murder of a prominent individual… he dies in what seems to be a bizarre sex game. As the story develops we learn more about Sir Hugo’s ‘tastes’ and the depths that he sank to in his relationships.

The story is primarily based in Oxford, at the home of Sir Hugo and his w
Lynda Kelly
I marked this down a couple of stars. One for the mistakes I happened across and one because I seemed to get bogged down with the story midway through it and found it difficult to pick it up again. I bought both the author's books while they were on offer as both stories appealed to me. This one is about the murder of Hugo, a high-flyer who's a big philanthropist and has a lot of pals in high places. However, he isn't a popular bloke, there are any number of female suspects that could have done ...more
Liz Wilkins
Hugo Fletcher, a pillar of society, loved by the public and famous for his charity works is found murdered. Tom Douglas, convinced that the murderer is a woman, is on the case. This creates the basis for the story, and wow what a story it was. My favourite thing about this novel was the storytelling - Ms Abbott gives you information in small doses whilst all the time filling out the personalities of her characters until you understand their actions and reasoning. What appears on the surface is n ...more
Alison Cubitt
Only the Innocent is perhaps the best example there is of the new breed of indie published novels. It's as professionally written as any you will find published by mainstream publishers – from the arresting cover image to the formatting – little details they may be, but in the world of indie publishing – this makes this novel a stand-out.
I came across Only the Innocent at the end of November 2011, as our books were launched on a writing critique website at the same time – and well before Rachel
I liked the plot of this book, high society husband is found dead, who did it? But it was written very heavy-handed. Dialog was written out unneccessarily and often times it was trying so hard to sound natural that it was completely unnatural. At one point letters are given from the main character, the wife, to her best friend to explain her marriage. The letter dragged on and on, and it was really weird that she didn't just tell her friend, why have her read letters? It seemed obvious that the ...more
Nov 30, 2013 Carmen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans with a strong stomach
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This is a book about the horrors of abuse. Themes: rape, killing prostitutes, enslaving prostitutes, child abuse, controlling people using drugs, being trapped in a marriage to a monster, incest, and grooming one's own children for sexual slavery.

The man guilty of these crimes is the murder victim in this book. It is a dark, English book with a gothic feel. The protagonist lives in Ashbury Park. She is Lady Laura and her husband is Sir Hugo. This story comes together bit by bit through differen
Reb MacRath
Highly recommended with just two reservations: the book could have been trimmed by at least thirty pages with no real loss to readers...and the Big Reveal, the victim's most appalling secret crime, was evident to me almost from the start,

Neither of those two reservations should deter any mystery lover who's looking for new talent. Make no mistake: Rachel Abbott is playing in the major leagues and is a bright star to watch. Only the Innocent offers: terrific settings, rich characterizations and
L.K. Jay
I have to blame this novel for giving me a headache. I started reading this novel earlier this morning and couldn't put it down and read so much, I had to have a lie down with a cool flannel over my head! Seriously, it's one of the best crime novels I've read for a while, and it passed the 'page-turner' test for me.

The characters were very good, I really liked DCI Tom Douglas and I hope there will be more of him. I really enjoyed reading about the relationship between Laura and Hugh, gripping st
Diana Hockley

A brilliant novel comes along once in awhile and this is it! Hugo is the personification of evil,a course on which he has been set since childhood. We know he has been murdered and over the course of the story we find out why. Rachel Abbott has not info dumped the reader - she has chosen to impart the story of Laura and Hugo's marriage in a series of letters, which Laura has written to her sister-in-law Imogen, but never posted. This clever device keeps the reader abreast of the situation and th
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I lived most of life in the north of England, and worked for many years as the managing director of an interactive media company. I wrote every day - everything from creative proposals to user manuals - but most exciting of all was writing interactive dramas - including for the Cluedo (Clue in the US) interactive games. I was fortunate enough to sell my company in 2000 and we moved to Italy where ...more
More about Rachel Abbott...

Other Books in the Series

DCI Tom Douglas (4 books)
  • The Back Road (DCI Tom Douglas #2)
  • Sleep Tight (DCI Tom Douglas #3)
  • Stranger Child (DCI Tom Douglas #4)
Sleep Tight (DCI Tom Douglas #3) The Back Road (DCI Tom Douglas #2) Stranger Child (DCI Tom Douglas #4)

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“The quiet but inexorable breaking down of self-esteem is much more sinister - it’s violation of the soul.” 16 likes
“She searched her mind for a single day when it had felt good to be alive. There must have been one, surely?” 6 likes
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