In Snap, a 2018 mystery by British author Belinda Bauer, a boy’s mother leaves to call for help after their car breaks down on the motorway. The boy, Jack, is left behind to look after his two younger sisters. But Mum never comes back. Jack’s father, overcome with grief, abandons the children and they are left to fend for themselves. So begins a tale of survival. Meanwhile, a pregnant woman encounters a burglar, the one police have dubbed Goldilocks. Detectives are hard-pressed to identify the criminal; he or she has proven quite slippery.
Snap was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, remarkable, apparently, for the crime novel’s contention among more literary works.
The above interview compelled me to listen to the audiobook version of Snap, narrated by Andrew Wincott. Bauer’s story is smart, wry, and engrossing. Wincott’s performance of the multiple third-person perspective was commendable. After reading a slew of novels written in first-person, it was refreshing to find this solid mystery constructed by a varied cast of characters. The novel’s voices are distinct and believable, particularly those of the children. Some of the tropes that we’ve come to expect from crime fiction are present, and Bauer renders them with finesse. I look forward to reading her earlier work, especially her 2010 debut, Blacklands.