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A Room Swept White

(Spilling CID #5)

by
3.34  ·  Rating details ·  3,999 ratings  ·  451 reviews
TV producer Fliss Benson receives an anonymous card at work. The card has sixteen numbers on it, arranged in four rows of four - numbers that mean nothing to her.

On the same day, Fliss finds out she's going to be working on a documentary about miscarriages of justice involving cot-death mothers wrongly accused of murder. The documentary will focus on three women: Helen
...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published 2010)
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Kitten I don't think it's essential, but you will have a slightly better grasp of the dynamics between the regular characters from the Culver Valley police.

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Average rating 3.34  · 
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 ·  3,999 ratings  ·  451 reviews


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John
Jan 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This would probably have had four stars from me (I almost never give fives) -- it's a racy, clever mystery with a nice willingness to mix narrative modes -- had it not been for the fact that Hannah uses her pulpit to deliver a stealth dose of antivaxer propaganda: talking points that have been refuted a million times over by the scientific community, and even expressions of pity for poor widdle Andwew Wakefield, persecuted by the medical Nazis for his "mere suggestion" that vaccines could cause ...more
Rosie
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
As with many ( most?) of Sophie Hannah's novels, this one was promising and intriguing until 80% of the way through, when the inevitable disappointing ending starts to break in. This was certainly one of her poorer efforts.

It was very contrived and incredibly unrealistic, seemingly in order to get information across to the reader in a lazy way ( e.g. people mentioning irrelevant things in interviews, regurgitating long stories to other characters who already knew them, people magically jumping
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Monica
Oct 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found Simon and Charlie and their unconsummated romance terminally annoying about 5 books ago. I kept fantasizing about locking them into a windowless room and nailing the door shut - they would finally have sex, or perhaps kill each other. Either would be an improvement. And then there are his obsessive hatred of his boss and his mother issues.

Hannah picks fascinating subjects, and then peoples her stories with a cast of dozens all of whom are almost impossible to care about. Fliss, the
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Elizabeth Scott
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be rather alone in my love of Sophie Hannah, but I think she's one of the best thriller writers out there. Will the subject matter of this book be uncomfortable to some? Since it's about women who've been put in prison for cot-death (SIDS in the US) and then released because proof has been found that they are innocent, sure. If you can get past that, brace yourself for a look at one woman's attempt to make a documentary about them, which is proving troublesome as someone is killing ...more
Linda
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Afraid i was pretty disappointed by this, it doesn't have the sharpness and focus of her previous novels. I lost interest by the end and i really couldn't give a toss about the tedious Waterhouse/Zailer backstory. I also didn't like the anti-vaccination message she seems to be punting, we have enough quackery in the world without Ms Hannah adding to it!
Jane
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
I have dark shadows under my eyes, and I blame Sophie Hannah. Ive stayed up much later than I intended for a few nights now, reading her newest book.

Its her fifth crime novel, and in some ways it follows the pattern of the previous four by posing a seemingly unsolvable puzzle, but it other ways it is a much more serious, more thought-provoking, more mature work than the four that came before.

The trouble is though, because its a mystery I dont want to say much more about the plot than is
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Natalie Christie
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
utterly disappointed byt his book. the blurb on the back promised a gripping read about miscarriages of justice and intertwining stories. it took ages to get into the book, the characters were so one dimensional that i still cant distinguish between any of the police officers! i kept reading because i was waiting for the big twist or reveal at the end (out of sheer stubborn curiosity, not because the author had built up suspence). however NOTHING HAPPENED. I was still waiting and utterly ...more
chucklesthescot
Apr 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
I liked the idea of the book more than the actual book itself.Three women have been freed or aquitted of murdering children in their care and the doctor who testified against them is facing misconduct charges.As a documentary about their cases is being filmed,one woman is murdered and everyone connected to the project is in danger.

A good idea that did not work for me as I read the book.Our heroine Fliss is a cardboard cutout female,placed there to fall in love with her boss and interview one of
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Sue Gerhardt Griffiths
The fifth book in the Spilling CID series was well written and suspenseful and kept me flipping the pages well into the night. I cant say I was too keen on any of the characters but I am intrigued to see where the relationship between Simon and Charlie will lead to as they sure are a strange pair and dont really suit each other, I guess thats what makes those two rather interesting.

I enjoy Sophie Hannahs writing and look forward to reading the next instalment.

*Book #45/72 of my 2019 coffee
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Dawn Bates
I was keen to read this book as soon as I read the blurb on the back. Sophie has had great reviews and the subject of cot deaths, miscarriages of justice is a brave one to tackle.

The book started off well and the storyline was good, but as the book progressed the amount of story lines weakened the main storyline. It was also a bit confusing as one of the police officer was referred to as his real name and his nickname. It took several appearances of this character for me to understand it was
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Cathy
Somewhere between 2.5 and 3, probably?

Basically, I have absolutely no idea how to rate this book. It was such a mess, in the end.

I'm sticking with 3 stars just because the story was quite riveting, and like the other book I read by her (before realising this was a series) this book is absorbing. So I enjoyed that part, I kept wanting to know more, and more, and more.

Unfortunately, the ending didn't satisfy me, at all. Which is such a shame because by that point I was so completely caught up
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Christine
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another well written story that features the theme of cot deaths and women losing babies in tragic circumstances. It reminded me of the many miscarriages of justice cases in the media surrounding shaken baby syndrome/cot deaths particularly in the 90s.

Fliss is given the task of making a documentary about three women involved in miscarriages of justice. One of the women is murdered and a strange series of numbers left with her. Why was she killed and what does the puzzle mean?

I'm big fan of this
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Izzy Holmes
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book was lent to me by a friend of mine and I knew when I started it that the subject matter was quite harrowing. it is about 3 women who were accused of murdering babies who due to a doctor (who was instrumental in getting them convicted) being discredited the women were freed. The other theme of the book is a woman called Fliss who is given the task of making a documentary about the plight of these 3 women. I did finish the book but to be honest have not got a very clear idea of what went ...more
Nenette
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't exactly like this book but I don't hate it either, so the two-star rating. Every time I sat down to read it, I almost always fell asleep after just a few pages! If I have to give this book any credit, it's that it didn't give anything away -  I had to continue reading if only to find out what really happened and who'd done it.  

This is only my second Sophie Hannah book and I'm not giving up yet.
Clare
Listened to in audio format.

I have been listening to the Spilling CID series since May this year. I can't believe I am already on the fifth book. I mistakenly first listened to this book 4 years ago out of order. I didn't like this book because I didn't understand the previous history between Simon Waterhouse and DI Gerald Prowst (The Snowman). If you are new to the series I suggest you read Little Face first.

I enjoyed A Room Swept White more this time because I understood the history between
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Ilona D
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow I really didn't like this book. The original storyline is compelling and got me far enough into the book that I had to actually finish it, but I was rolling my eyes and groaning every two pages.

The characters are cardboard. The main character, Fliss, is insufferable. She's one of those characters who the reader has to just *know* is intelligent/worthwhile/special because other characters keep putting their faith in her and saying things like, "You're the only one I trusted to do this."
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Lynsey
May 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intrigue
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luisa Fer
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
When it comes to thrillers, misteries, murders and the rest, I prefer to stay on the other side of the Atlantic, over there in Europe. I discovered Sophie Hannah with this book which I bought on impulse in a lovely independent bookstore in Ottawa.

It's incredible how an author can tackle subjects that are so painful for a society and make them so believable, excruciating and utterly sad as she did in this book on top of keeping the story flowing, fast and intriguing.

Britain has had its share of
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Laura
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Minus one star for the anti-vaccine bs
Suzanne Thackston
Some things about this book were great. I liked Fliss's voice, and the mystery set up was good (at least I think so- I never manage to guess crime and mystery plots in advance.) I also appreciated the matter of fact way that vaccine-induced death was handled. You'd think today that vaccines are 100% safe and effective and Bad Things never happen.
But it didn't rivet me. The narrative perspective changes didn't work well for me at all. Can't for the life of me figure out why Fliss is first person
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Lucile Barker
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
36. A room swept white by Hannah Sophie
A woman, Helen, who has been cleared of murdering her child after being imprisoned for several years, is being profiled with two others, Sarah and Rachel, in a television documentary to be researched and produced by Fliss Benson. The doctor whose testimony put all three in prison, Judith Duffy, is being investigated. Then Helen is found murdered and there are suspects galore. Add to this, strange cards with numbers on them that have been sent to Fliss, her
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The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
The strength of this book, for me, was the subject matter. I love a good pyschological thriller anyway but youd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by cot deaths and cases involving the deaths of babies which are at the centre of this book. Its topical, relevant and current. And it made me think and ask myself questions that I had perhaps not asked myself before A Room Swept White is a very clever book that looks at this whole issue without taking sides.

The story is told in both first
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Marie
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In A Room Swept White, Fliss Benson is a documentary film maker, who's just been given a project. For personal reasons, she doesn't want to work on the film, but she doesn't feel she has a choice. The project deals with SIDS babies where the mothers were accused (wrongly, as it turns out) of murdering their children. The doctor who testified at the trials is under suspicion for pointing the finger at the mothers in the first place. When Fliss receives a card with 16 numbers on it, she's stumped ...more
Hilary G
Sophie Hannah was unknown to me when I picked up this book at the library. While I didn't think the novel was extraordinary, I must have found it unusual and absorbing enough to want to read more and I read five more of her books in the following weeks. I found that some of her earlier books were even better than this one. Her psychological mysteries are compelling and, as far as I was concerned, defied unravelling before the end. Nothing predictable about her stories. I think my response to the ...more
Laura
Feb 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the first Sophie Hannah book that I read. I actually read her books slightly out of order, reading book four, The Other Half Lives first at the start of this year, not realising the police officers in the story appear throughout the series. I followed it with books one, two and three, and now that I have read book five, I have to admit I think book four is by far the best of her books.

A Room Swept White, still follows the Spilling CID, and the characters of Sergeant Charlie
...more
Valetta
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good experience, my first with Sophie Hanna and one that I can't wait to repeat.
I usually don't have much patience with psychological thrillers but this one really hooked me from the first page even if I found the main character, Fliss Benson, deeply annoying with her hysterical cowardice, which mysteriously disappears in the last part of the novel (a particularly big inconsistency in a psychological thriller).
Now that I think of it Fliss is not the only irksome character:also the policemen
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Aina
Dec 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eleanor Greenwood
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
So, I was sceptical of all the poor reviews. I mean, don't people rave about Sophie Hannah? Whilst I wouldn't describe this book as awful, it was Not. Good. Fliss Benson, the only first person narrator, is annoying, drippy, and generally pathetic, not to mention self-centred. These women we're meant to feel sorry for? Not feeling it. The only interesting character in the entire thing was Judith Duffy, who we actually meet exactly once. Other than that, there isn't really anything I like about ...more
Kylie
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Psychological thriller at its best. TV producer Fliss is working on a documentary about cot death, and three mothers who have been wrongly convicted of murder. Fliss receives a note but discards it, until one of the mothers is murdered, with a similar note found in her pocket. Unsettling but rewarding.
Joanna (joannasbookmarks)
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
Having enjoyed a couple of other books in this series, I was keen to try another. Initially, I was a bit disappointed because I found the book quite hard to get into. However, the pace picked up, I liked the plot-twist and of course the end of the book when it all came together. I find Hannah's writing really easy to read, and I would recommend this if you enjoy mysteries and thrillers.
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Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophies crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case ...more

Other books in the series

Spilling CID (10 books)
  • Little Face (Spilling CID, #1)
  • Hurting Distance (Spilling CID, #2)
  • The Wrong Mother (Spilling CID, #3)
  • The Other Half Lives (Spilling CID, #4)
  • Lasting Damage (Spilling CID, #6)
  • Kind of Cruel (Spilling CID, #7)
  • The Carrier (Spilling CID, #8)
  • Woman with a Secret (Spilling CID, #9)
  • The Next to Die (Spilling CID, #10)

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