Bingeing on thrillers

So I’ve been binge-reading thrillers – the last three have been JP Delaney’s The Girl Before (girl moves into creepy minimalist, automated, high tech house in which she finds out other girls have died), Sabine Durrant’s Lie With Me (serial liar in his 40s gets caught up in a weird, creepy family holiday in Greece), and Felicity Everett’s The People At Number 9 (bourgeois neighbour with inferiority complex tries to keep up with the Joneses, only the Joneses are negligent parents with high manipulation quotients).

It’s making me want to write a thriller set in Brunei. I shall call it THE DAUGHTER-IN-LAW. Here’s the brief.

Hajar has never gotten along with her mother-in-law, Anisah. She’s mostly gotten used to it, or so she thinks, until Liyana comes along. Submissive, polite, eager and educated, Liyana is the perfect daughter-in-law, and Hajar can’t help feeling a little bit jealous.

Only, is Liyana really as perfect as she seems?

Suddenly Anisah starts having little accidents. A fall here, a cough that won’t go away, a car whose brake lines are frayed. And then there’s the diabetes medication that gets swapped out for arsenic/blood thinners/insect repellent (Editor’s Note: I haven’t decided yet). A mistake, the pharmacists say, except Hajar knows that Liyana is the one who picked up the medicine from RIPAS…

Alternatively, there’s THE MOTHER-IN-LAW

Hajar has heard all the horror stories from her friends about their in-laws, and counts herself incredibly lucky when she meets Azizul’s mother. From the first, Anisah tells Hajar to call her “Mama”, includes her in all family discussions, never makes a single overstepping move when it comes to Hajar’s pregnancy.

Only, is Anisah as perfect as she seems?

When they move out of the family home, the incidents begin. The snakeskin underneath the sofa, the crockery washed with bleach instead of liquid Fairy, the iron left on to burn the laundry room down/increase electricity bills astronomically (Editor’s Note: Haven’t decided yet). Anisah tells Hajar it must be the amah, but Hajar isn’t sure…

And then there are the voices at night, when everyone else is sleeping…

I think I’m on to something here. Call me, Hollywood directors!

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