Little, Brown, £15.99 stg (HB)

Cartographer William Huxley has been out of work for quite some time. He's not too bothered – he's enjoying spending quality time with his toddler daughter Morwenna. However, his dot.com millionaire wife, Edwina, does care. William's life is simply too boring for this high-flying businesswoman and she goes in search of something more exciting.

Despite enjoying his new-found freedom, William misses adult company and a good cerebral challenge. The brutal slaying of a mother and her young daughters five years after Edwina's aunt's horrific death sparks some interest in William and Mrs P, the Huxley's housekeeper. With a break of a couple of years, William's interest is again ignited with the similarly brutal and separate killings of a bank manager, a yoga teacher and a social worker.

William's cartographer eye begins to see a pattern in the locations of the murders, but what links the seemingly clean living victims? Enlisting the help of a local journalist William sets out to find out. However, his attention is momentarily distracted by the appearance in his life of a mysterious Sicilian woman. Is his marriage on the rocks, and will his investigations into the murders ultimately lead to his own death?

In 'Grandmother's Footsteps' Carol Smith has created a thriller to rival the best. At times William and his little daughter may seem too good to be true, but this well-written and gripping page-turner will keep you guessing until close to the end.

Joanne Ahern