THESE LITTLE LIES by Gretta Mulrooney, Review: Cleverly plotted

Gretta Mulrooney’s These Little Lies (DI Siv Drummond #1) is cleverly plotted crime fiction, with an endearingly tough female lead and twists I did not see coming.

These Little Lies - Gretta MulrooneyThese Little Lies Synopsis:


It’s Detective Inspector Siv Drummond’s first day back on the job, joining a new team in a new town. This fresh start isn’t going to be easy. Still mourning the death of her husband, she must push aside her grief to focus on her first case.

Lauren Visser and Matis Rimas are found stabbed to death in the idyllic woodland by the River Bere. Their mutilated bodies lie within feet of each other. A photograph of an unknown girl sits on Lauren’s chest.

She was an activist and wild swimmer. He was fishing illegally.


Siv and her team start ruling out suspects, but no one tells the truth when everyone has something to hide. What will be dredged up by the investigation?


Elegantly written, THESE LITTLE LIES is a masterclass in slow-burning suspense that will keep you turning the pages into the early hours. Perfect for fans of Robert Galbraith, Tana French, Liane Moriarty, Rachel Cain or Ruth Rendell.

(Joffe Books – November 2019)

Genre: Crime-Detective, Mystery, Drama

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You should not judge a book by its small price tag… If I had in the case of Gretta Mulrooney’s new novel These Little Lies, I’d have missed out on a high-quality contemporary police procedural.

These Little Lies is the first title of Mulrooney’s I have read and the first in her new Detective Inspector Siv Drummond series.

Judicious character development

First titles in new series, particularly crime fiction, often suffer from ‘data dump’. You’ve got to get to know all the key players in the protagonists’ world (professional and personal) along with their backstories, while also understanding the linkages between the transitory characters, those only pertinent to the criminal investigation itself. And then, of course, sometimes the lines between those two camps become blurred.

But Mulrooney’s handling of this series setup is impressive. Readers ride shotgun with Siv as she is introduced to her new team members and questions witnesses/suspects. First impressions of people are noted and then gradually modified based on further observations as their level of interaction develops. That initial wariness and instinctive process of making and debunking assumptions was skilfully depicted, and thus the deeper connections, when made, felt authentic.

In a similar way, Mulrooney allows her audience time and opportunity to engage with Detective Inspector Siv Drummond, rather than ‘badging her’ as likeable from page one. And I believe her long term fan base will be all the more loyal because of that judicious character development and pacing. Her open-mindedness borne from experience and straight-forward, no-nonsense approach are ultimately a winning combination.

Mulrooney’s use of alternate character viewpoints and italicised inner dialogue, contrasting that which was spoken aloud, added to the layers and nuance.

Puzzling mystery

These Little Lies is a cleverly plotted crime and police investigation, featuring credible twists I did not see coming. While not short on suspense and tension, the desire to solve the puzzle is what drives both protagonist and reader. The focus on the investigative process and the telling nature of lies by omission. And, more broadly, all the little lies people tell themselves.

At the satisfying conclusion to DI Siv Drummond’s first case in Berminster, readers find themselves invested in her plight and that of a small yet diverse and endearing second-tier character set.

Gretta Mulrooney’s These Little Lies is an exciting start to a modern crime series I look forward to following.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5  — Overall 4.25

Get your copy of These Little Lies (Detective Inspector Siv Drummond #1) from:

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About the Author, Gretta Mulrooney

Gretta Mulrooney was born and brought up in London, to Irish parents. She studied for a B.A. in English at The University of Ulster and a qualification in Social Work, going on to teach English in secondary schools and then working in social care for many years.

She started writing for children in her thirties and had five books published with Poolbeg Press. Her first published novel for adults, Araby, was with Harper Collins, followed by Marble Heart. Robert Hale published the next three novels; Fire and Ice, Out of the Blue and The Apple of Her Eye. She’s also had short stories commissioned by Radio Four.

Mulrooney had always been an avid reader of psychological thrillers and crime fiction and decided, in retirement, to turn to crime writing, penning her Private Detective Tyrone Swift Series and now Detective Inspector Siv Drummond.

* My receiving a copy from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions.