I am convinced, you see, that Dr Braithwaite killed my sister, Veronica. I do not mean that he murdered her in the normal sense of the word, but that he is, nonetheless, as responsible for her death as if he had strangled her with his bare hands. Two years ago, Veronica threw herself from the overpass at Bridge Approach in Camden and was killed by the 4.45 to High Barnet. You could hardly imagine a person less likely to commit such an act. She was twenty-six years old, intelligent, successful and passably attractive. Regardless of this, she had, unbeknown to my father and me, been consulting Dr Braithwaite for some weeks. This I know from his own account.
When a young woman becomes convinced that her sister's therapist was responsible for her suicide, she assumes an alter ego and presents herself as a client at his clinic, determined to get to the bottom of the charismatic therapist's relationship with her sister. But just who is she convincing with her performance of the deeply troubled Rebecca?
Case Study is a game of cat-and-mouse between therapist and patient, between truth and deception, and between author and reader. It is a novel seething with secrets and teasing questions about the nature of identity itself, an enthralling, playful and layered depiction of 1960s society and the radical psychiatry propounded by R. D. Laing.
Graeme Macrae Burnet was born and brought up in Kilmarnock and now lives in Glasgow. In between, he lived in Prague, Bordeaux, Porto and London. Case Study is his fourth novel. His second book, His Bloody Project, which deals with a triple murder in a crofting village in the Scottish Highlands, was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize and won the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year Award and the Vrij Netherlands Thriller of the Year, and was shortlisted for the LA Times Book Awards. It has become a bestseller in several countries and is published in twenty-one languages.
'A novel of mind-bending brilliance. Graeme Macrae Burnet is a master of muddying the waters, of troubling ideas of truth and identity, fiction and documentary, and Case Study shows him at the height of his powers.' Hannah Kent
'Burnet's triumph is that it's a page-turning blast, funny, sinister and perfectly plotted so as to reveal – or withhold – its secrets in a consistently satisfying way. It also does a fine job of keeping our sympathies shifting, and of conjuring up a lost cultural era. Rarely has being constantly wrong-footed been so much fun.' The Times
'This is a novel which, like Macrae Burnet's previous ones, holds the attention, develops an insidious narrative interest, and poses questions about the nature of the self and the authenticity of identity...As in his other novels, Macrae Burnet writes with an admirable lucidity, at the same time being able to probe and shed light on the dark places of the mind. Writing in a prose that is spare, deadpan and yet alive, he poses questions about the nature and perception of what we choose to call reality. He is an uncommonly interesting and satisfying novelist.' Allan Massie, Scotsman
'The defining essence of Burnet's work to date is to be found in this kind of literary gamesmanship, a brand of metatextuality that is as much about exploiting the possibilities of the novel form as it is about blurring the boundaries between appearance and reality... Burnet has always delighted in undermining such easy assumptions, and in Case Study he ups the stakes still further, providing a veritable layer cake of possible realities to get lost in...Entertaining and mindfully engrossing in equal measure.'...