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The Echo

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  3,532 ratings  ·  167 reviews

‘It was the smell that Mrs Powell noticed first. Slightly sweet. Slightly unpleasant.. It shocked her badly to find a dead man in the corner, his head slumped on his knees.’

Who was Billy Blake, other than a homeless alcoholic who wandered the streets?

Why was he found dead from starvation in one of the richest areas of one of the richest capitals in the world?

And why

Kindle Edition, 420 pages
Published (first published 1997)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,532 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 "mildly entertaining, moderately unsatisfying and highly implausible" stars !!

Oh Minette, Minette, Minette. What a cute name that is !!

I did enjoy this mystery novel but with soooo many reservations. I have wanted to try one of these mysteries for a very long time and this one was passed onto me by a friend that reads a few hundred mysteries a year. She said this was half decent. I disagree but I did find it quite entertaining.

Some of her characters are well drawn out and others not at all.
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
Minette Walters has long been a favourite author of mine - they even do a decent job of producing her books as mini-series.

I cannot recall reading the Echo before, though I suppose I might have when it first came out. There are things I loved about this book, and things I disliked. As usual Walter's characterisation is great. Michael the tenacious journalist, Terry the homeless boy who had been a friend of the deceased 'Billy Blake', Lawrence the elderly and lonely solicitor, Barry who is contro
Nov 07, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I have no idea why this book is called The Echo - perhaps I'm terribly dense and missed that part. A mystery centred around the death of a homeless man, and why he chose to starve to death in a certain woman's garage, it is well written but rather confusing - I found myself backtracking occasionally, trying to figure out what was going on as more and more elements of the mystery were revealed. I still have no idea who the woman in South Africa was, but I was too sick of figuring things out to wo ...more
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In my limited experience, Minette Walters's output is very up and down. The best of them (for me, so far, The Shape of Snakes, Disordered Minds and The Chameleon's Shadow) are tremendous -- just about as good as crime fiction gets -- but, on the other hand, there's, well, The Echo.

Journalist Michael Deacon is writing a story on the fates of the homeless, and his editor insists he interview Amanda Powell, a wealthy architect who, a few months ago, discovered that a homeless man, known on the stre
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1990s, britain, fiction
Appreciate the complexity of the characters, the poetry quoted, and the scenes of homeless people in London. Would rate it about 3.6, which appears to be the Goodreads average. Escapist fare from the public library's shrinking large print collection.

Started several other books by author that were dnf and deleted from my GR-collection.
Listened to the audiobook from Recorded Books

Narrated By: Simon Prebble

Best-selling author Minette Walters captivates mystery aficionados throughout the world with her evocative, multi-layered novels, which have been translated into 22 languages. In The Echo she spins a finely-wrought web of secrets and betrayals, love and guilt that entangles everyone who touches it. A homeless man has been found dead of starvation—huddled next to a food-filled freezer—in a London socialite’s garage. When journ
Anne Hawn Smith
I found this to be interesting, but rather convoluted. A homeless man was found in a rich woman's house, dead from starvation while lying beside a full freezer. The woman seems to have no connection to the man, but a series of connections appear as the plot winds on. Some of the characters are engaging and well drawn, but others never quite develop and the reader has to keep flipping back to the front of the book to identify them. There are elements in the plot which are really good, especially ...more
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Another crime novel from the prolific pen of Minette Walters. A fascinating tale of disappearances, murders (plural), and suicides, with a varied cast that runs the social gamut from multi-millionaire business men to street people. The death of a homeless man in the garage of a well-heeled woman attracts the interest of a newspaper man looking for an angle on a story about homelessness. The derelict bears an uncanny resemblance to the woman's husband, who had disappeared under mysterious circums ...more
Deborah Pickstone
I know I have read this before but I couldn't remember any of it, which is unusual. Dealing with the issues of the expendability of the vast population of the homeless on the one hand and of Redemption (with a capital R) on the other, it is yet in some ways Walters' weakest book to date as I was over halfway through before I got hooked. There seemed to me to be a bit too much reliance on minor fortunate coincidences - and I don't believe in coincidence - but that is the closest I can come to art ...more
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, re-read, 2005, 2011
I’ve had quite a few people recommend this & other Walters books, but for some reason I assumed the books were more romance than mystery. I don’t know why & boy was I wrong! This was a fabulous book. It was well written with an interesting story, although I did figure out the “puzzle” before Walters revealed the answer.
Jul 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: open-lib
There seems to be something missing in this story of Minette Walters'.Its not really one of her best works I should say!The story is good enough but at most times one feels lost in its myriad plot lines
Oct 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second Walters book and while I enjoyed it, I found the conclusion a bit confusing and far fetched. Yes, I realize this is fiction but the reason for Verity's suicide made no sense to me and Peters need of redemption even less sense. I will be reading more of her books though.
Sue Smith
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book! A pleasant surprise for me as I've not read anything by Minette Walters prior to it and this book had me going from the get-go. I loved how she takes some pretty rag-tag characters and really makes you like them as the story progresses. Great story and great writing!
Aug 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, thriller
A really rather confusing plot but intelligently well written, leaving me glad to tag along as the hero did the journalist who just can't stop digging along with his wacky sidekicks. The sculptress by the same author was much better.
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite Minette Walters, but a goo dstory none-the-less.
Roderick Hart
A homeless man, Billy Blake, dies of starvation in the garage of a wealthy architect, Amanda Powell. The location could have been an accident but a journalist, Michael Deacon, wonders if there was more to it than that. He sets about trying to figure out a) what lead to Blake’s death b) and what lead to it in that particular location. While researching his life as a vagrant, Deacon meets a young boy of fourteen who knew him better than anyone else in the months before he died. He eventually succe ...more
Sam Woodfield
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a recommendation from a friend, this is the firdt Minette Walters book I have read but I think this is the start of many more to come.
'The Echo' follows a small time journalist, Michael Deacon, as he looks into the issue of homelessness for the political paper he writes for. When looking at the death of a homeless man, who died of starvation in a local womans garage, Deacon uncovers more than he bargained for, and solves the mystery of the disappearance of two missing men from many years a
Susan Oleksiw
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Amanda Powell, a woman apparently abandoned by her husband after his embezzlement of millions of pounds, finds a derelict dead from starvation in her garage. Known as Billy Blake to the police, the derelict is a fixture among the homeless. A journalist, Michael Deacon, investigates as part of a story he's working on about the homeless, but his interest is piqued when he learns that Mrs. Powell pays for the man's cremation and is trying to learn more about him. Deacon's own investigations lead hi ...more
Faith Mortimer
The first 100 pages were a good read, then the next 200 and I was becoming a little confused. I found the whole story very convoluted and extremely far-fetched. If I read a book in which I have to keep going back to the first few pages to check up on things then it is a no-no. Confusing, contrived and who the hell was the woman in South Africa?

Sorry not a patch on some of her other work.
Asha Stark
Not bad, but after a while I did feel like I was covering the same ground over and over again.
Rashmi Lohkna
Where was the mystery ? The plot was out in the open from start, and the fact stating over and over and over again was pointless. A book which would have been a good read in 200 pages became a burden of 427 to finish. I was hoping for some twist somewhere near the end... but it was disappointing. Least Walters could have given the readers was - either set a good connection b/w Street and Fenton. Or the adopted kid should have had some role to play in the plot... Deacon's conclusions on all of th ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Echo is a good example of the old adage that “old crimes never go unpunished.”

I thoroughly enjoyed The Echo, as much for the story as for the characterizations themselves. Deacon is a character who starts out as a doubtful hero but by the end of the story, I found myself hoping he’d find the peace he was looking for. As for Terry, this was a canny and older-than-his years character whom I definitely wanted to know more about and also what became of him. The youngster gives Deacon advice wis
May 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not my favorite Minette Walters book. The overlapping plots were just a bit too much and not believable at all. I liked the Billy Blake character a lot and the friendships that get formed later in the novel, but the mystery portion of it was a bit too confusing and then came out with a series of tidy coincidences that kind of left me feeling cheated. The novel is about a couple of missing persons who were related to huge frauds and how their stories resurface when a homeless man is found in a wo ...more
Laurie Rockenbeck
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible-book
What a terrific story! Others have talked about the convoluted nature of the story, but that is what makes Walters' work so much fun to read--or listen to. You have to pay close attention to everything she writes, but all the pieces are there to put it together. It's a brilliant new take on Oedipus, and, while not everything is wrapped up in a neat little package, the main plot points are pretty well explained. I also liked that she made reference to a character from "The Ice House" in this stor ...more
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
The first part of the story was a little bit tangled up for me, the end of the story was a little bit tangled up for me, but the middle part was superb and made up for the tangles on either end.
You have to like British dark suspense with all that that entails of everything having hidden meaning and no one is who they appear to be at any given time. I know I love watching these on BBC America, with all of the visual cues and atmosphere.
My sister's been on me to read Minette's books, so this was
Jaime Dick
The book began well, but became confusing as the story went on. I felt like the tie between Billy and Amanda was leak at best...I understand they were both murderers but really what was the point? And I also wondered who the mysterious woman was and had to actually google it to figure it out. This is the first book I have read by this author, and I have another one in my stack to read. Hopefully it will be better than this one.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book but not as exciting as Walter's previous novels. I found the story boring most of the time and the character development was only ok. In the end, I was left with more questions than answers. I still enjoy Walter's writing style and will continue to read her books as I always find something interesting in them.
Emma Maclean
I liked this and flew through it but it was a bit confusing towards the end trying to keep all the characters straight. Overall a good read though.
Katharine Ott
"The Echo" - written by Minette Walters and published in 1997 by G P Putnam and Sons. A readable mystery, but a little too convoluted.
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Who is the woman in South Africa? 2 29 Jun 28, 2012 05:30PM  

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Minette Walters (born 26 September 1949) is a British mystery writer. After studying at Trevelyan College, University of Durham, she began writing in 1987 with The Ice House, which was published in 1992. She followed this with The Sculptress (1993), which received the 1994 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She has been published in 35 countries and won many awards.

The Sculptress has been adapted for tel
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