‘It would be easy to say that it all started with the murders, but actually it began when Margaret Thatcher became prime minister.’
 More about the book!

Penguin Random House SA has shared an extract from The List of Suspicious Things, a tender and moving coming-of-age story about family, friendship and community by Jennie Godfrey.

‘Such a fresh and interesting voice. You’ll cry and you won’t be able to stop reading.’ – Marian Keyes

About the book

Yorkshire, 1979

Maggie Thatcher is prime minister, drainpipe jeans are in, and Miv is convinced that her dad wants to move their family Down South. Because of the murders.

Leaving Yorkshire and her best friend Sharon simply isn’t an option, no matter the dangers lurking round their way; or the strangeness at home that started the day Miv’s mum stopped talking. Perhaps if she could solve the case of the disappearing women, they could stay after all?

So, Miv and Sharon decide to make a list: a list of all the suspicious people and things down their street. People they know. People they don’t.

But their search for the truth reveals more secrets in their neighbourhood, within their families – and between each other – than they ever thought possible.

What if the real mystery Miv needs to solve is the one that lies much closer to home?

Read an excerpt:




It would be easy to say that it all started with the murders, but actually it began when Margaret Thatcher became prime minister.

‘A woman in charge of the country just isn’t right. They’re not made for it,’ my Aunty Jean said, on the day the election results were announced. ‘As if the last lot weren’t bad enough. She’s the beginning of the end for Yorkshire, an’ I’ll tell you why an’ all.’

She was bustling about our small kitchen, vigorously rewiping surfaces I had already wiped. I was sat at the table, in my brown-and-orange school uniform, shelling peas into a colander on the chipped yellow Formica top, popping fresh ones into my mouth whenever she wasn’t looking. I wanted to point out that, like Margaret Thatcher, Aunty Jean was also a woman, but Aunty Jean hated being interrupted mid-flow and it was just the two of us, meaning there was no escape from her opinions, of which there were many. So many, she began to list them.

‘Number one,’ she said, her wiry grey curls bobbing along as she shook her head, ‘you take one look at that face, and you can see what power does to a woman: it hardens them. You can just tell she’s no heart, can’t you?’ She took a wooden spoon off the draining board and wagged it at me for emphasis.

‘Hmm,’ I mumbled.

For a moment, I considered just nodding occasionally while secretly reading the book I had open, a corner tucked under the colander to keep it flat. But though Aunty Jean’s hearing was less than sharp, her other senses were razor-like, and she would have smelled my inattention like a hunting dog.

‘Number two. She’s already taken milk away from poor children’s mouths and jobs from the hands of hard-working men.’

I knew at least part of this was true. The rhyme ‘Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher’ was still heard in our school, years after she had taken away the little bottles of disgusting lukewarm milk we used to have to drink daily there.

‘Three. These bloody murders every five minutes. That’s what Yorkshire’s famous for now. Dead girls.’

She put the wooden spoon away and opened the door of our ancient fridge with its rusted corners, which creaked in protest. Immediately tutting about the lack of substance inside it, she pulled out the battered, spiral-bound notebook she carried everywhere with her, removed the equally battered pencil shoved in the top and licked the nub.

‘Butter, milk, cheese.’

I could see her mouthing the words as she wrote them down, neatly listing them in the copperplate handwriting she was so proud of. Aunty Jean liked to tidy up the messiness of life, putting everything into order. I sometimes wondered if that was what she was trying to do to our family. She finished her list, closed the fridge and looked at me.

‘Oh, and not just dead girls. Those types of women.’

I was bursting to ask about what types of women she meant, and whether they were the same type as Margaret Thatcher. I was always intrigued about the women Aunty Jean disapproved of – there were many – but I knew from experience that no comment was expected or desired, so I chose to say nothing and simply settled back into my chair, while Aunty Jean settled back into her opinions. I didn’t need to ask which murders she was talking about though. Everyone in Yorkshire knew we had our very own bogeyman, one with a hammer and a hatred of women.


Extracted from The List of Suspicious Things by Jennie Godfrey, out now from Penguin Random House SA!

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