When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins #bookreview

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Fiona Cummins, When I Was Ten on my blog today.


Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were killed in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.

Their ten year-old daughter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.

Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister, compelling her to break two decades of silence.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.

For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened that night – with devastating consequences for them all.


I’m a huge fan of Fiona Cummins’s writing, and I couldn’t wait to read her new novel When I Was Ten. This is a highly engaging read, and once I started it, I was hooked. This is a novel with a really intriguing premise. A family have been slaughtered; their children have been separated. But the horrifying part is that Dr Carter and his wife were murdered by one of their children. It’s why it has become one of the most talked about crimes of the modern age. But what really happened that night? What is the untold story?

In When I Was Ten, Fiona Cummins delves into the psychology of the characters at the centre of the crime. Now everything is about to change for them. An explosive new documentary is about to air, and new revelations are about to come to light when one of the Carter sisters speaks to the press. Fiona Cummins introduces us to two characters, Catherine and Brinley. Brinley works at a local newspaper, and as interest in the Carter case heightens again, her boss is after an exclusive interview with one of the Carter sisters. But what he doesn’t know is that Brinley once lived next door to the Carter family. She chooses to keep this to herself. Catherine is also a really intriguing character. You can see she is keeping secrets, and she is determined to make sure that her past stays buried.

As the novel progresses, Fiona Cummins takes us back in time. We see the events leading up to the murders of the Carter family, and she begins to build a picture of what really took place. As Fiona Cummins did reveal more about what happened at that time, I could see why the events escalated in the way they did. But I don’t want to go into any further detail here. The book darkens as we begin to understand the truth, and the darkness becomes palpable as we reach the horrifying conclusion. It asks a terrifying question, what can prompt a child to murder their parents?

The writing is taut right the way through, and I could not put this book down. The chapters are short and snappy, and I wanted to find out more about the characters. Fiona Cummins writes some horrific scenes when we go back to the time of the murders. This is when the bigger picture here begins to unravel.

Fiona Cummins is one of the best crime writers out there. If you haven’t yet discovered her books, then you really need to. I highly, highly recommend When I Was Ten! I’m sure this is going to be one of the most talked about thrillers of the year, and it deserves to be.

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication date: 15th April 2021

Print length: 384 pages

When I was Ten is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

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