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Who is the Good Liar?

The Good Liar is the gripping debut psychological thriller by Nicholas Searle, soon to be a major film starring Sir Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren in the leading roles.

The story revolves around Roy, a conman living in a leafy English suburb who’s about to pull off the final coup of his career: he’s going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings. But who is the man behind the con and what has he had to do to survive this life of lies? And why is this beautiful woman so willing to be his next victim?

Here’s Nicholas himself to introduce his main characters, Roy and Betty.

At the heart of The Good Liar is the relationship between its two main characters, Roy and Betty, the two eighty-somethings who meet through the internet.

The Good Liar filmRoy’s a ducker and diver. He’s seen it all, and then some. He’s made fortunes and lost them, or so he says. He’s as crafty as they come. As a young man he was involved in the post-Second World War clear-up – dirty work, but someone had to do it. Then he became a kind of aide-de-camp of a Lord – more a fixer, if he’s honest, helping his master dodge the figurative bullets that inevitably come when you’re a high-profile member of the aristocracy. Later he popped up in sleazy seventies Soho, surfing the grimy crest of the sex trade. More recently he could be found – or more to the point he couldn’t, he’s so sly – doing arms deals in the Balkans or scamming Russian oligarchs in property transactions in London. He’s had his ups and downs but he always comes back fighting. Weary perhaps nowadays, but there’s still vigour in that tall frame and fire in those clear blue eyes.

Betty could hardly be more different. Petite, cultured and vivacious, she’s an intellectual. But strong with it: you had to be as a woman to carve a career as an academic in 1950s Edinburgh. She enjoyed a stellar reputation as a historian but has also been devoted to her extended family, and to her husband Alasdair. She was widowed in the 1990s, and was heartbroken. Her family rallied round her and still surrounds her with love but she finds in retirement that though comfortably well-off she lacks fulfilment. With all that good fortune, all those advantages, she finds she’s now missing something, which is why she’s ventured onto the internet and those geriatric dating sites.

Will she find what she’s seeking with Roy? Or is she so vulnerable that Roy can take her for all she’s got?

Nicholas Searle

Nicholas Searle was a civil servant who spent much of his time working on security matters before deciding to leave to write fiction. The Good Liar is his first novel.

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