Monday 22 March 2021

No One You Know

Finished March 20
No One You Know by Michelle Richmond

This book starts with a woman meeting someone unexpectedly and then jumps back twenty years to when he first became a person she was aware of. The main character here, Ellie Enderlin, had an older sister Lila who was a math prodigy. Lila had given up her other love, riding her horse Dorothy, to focus on math. She was specifically focused on proving Goldbach's Conjecture. Both sisters are still living at home with their parents in San Francisco, and Ellie is a sophomore at college when Lila doesn't come home one night. Less than a week later, her body was found, with head damage near a hiking trail. 
The police enquiry didn't result in an arrest, and Ellie was able to confide all her feelings in a professor that she was close to, Andrew Thorpe. He showed sympathy when she asked for an incomplete in his course, and then encouraged her to talk to him about Lila. Ellie was unaware that Andrew had an agenda. But a few months later, after she'd confided quite a bit about her sister and her own life in regards to her, Andrew revealed that he was writing a book, a book about Lila. Despite Ellie requesting several times that he not do this, that he had betrayed her trust, he went ahead with the book, and in it he named who he thought had killed Lila. That man was never arrested, but his life was changed irrevocably anyway thanks to Thorpe's book. His marriage ended and he lost access to his son. He left his job and moved far away.
Lila had eventually read the book and accepted the version there, but after meeting the man Thorpe accused, she begins to question things. She meets with Thorpe and begins looking at other possibilities. This is a book about secrets, about noticing the small things, about trust and the loss of it, and about relationships in a larger way. 
Richmond is a great writer and she has a sense of the absurd that comes through in the plot here and in one quirky scene where she references one of her own earlier novels. I really enjoyed Ellie's foray into the facts of her sister's death, and how she came to know her more fully as a result. I also found Ellie's career interesting. She is a coffee taster and buyer for a small coffee company, and I enjoyed learning some of the detail of her job.


  1. Hi Shonna. Thank you so much for this lovely review. This book came out more than 10 years ago, and it is a joy to see it finding a new and enthusiastic reader! The new novel, The Wonder Test, will be out in July.

    1. Thanks Michelle! I will look for the new one to be sure. I really enjoyed this book so easy to do a positive review.