by Alexia Casale

Publisher: Viking, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2024

Publisher’s blurb

Four new friends. Four dead bodies. One big problem . . .

In this darkly funny story with a big heart, meet the four women who have two things in common: 1) they were all pushed too far in their abusive relationships, and 2) they all have a corpse to dispose of…

Sally never meant to cave her husband’s head in with a skillet. Or at least she didn’t until suddenly, she did.

But Sally isn’t the only woman in town reaching breaking point. When coincidence brings four strangers together, a surprising friendship is formed.

So… can they find the best way to bury their husbands – and get away with it?


by Narrelle Harris

The pandemic lockdowns were hard for everyone in different ways – but how much worse was it for those locked down with abusive partners, with their increased likelihood of fatal violence and fewer chances of escape.

This is the framework for Alexia Casale’s darkly funny and deeply compassionate debut crime novel, The Best Way to Bury Your Husband. She notes in her afterword that the femicide rate doubled during the UK lockdown, with two women killed every three days in the first three weeks of lockdown alone.

In this book, four women trapped with their violent partner react impulsively to save themselves and, in the aftermath, their children – and then have to solve the age-old dilemma confronting all killers: how to dispose of the body.

Casale creates a fantastic cast of women, people from vastly different lives, backgrounds, temperaments, and circumstances, which blend beautifully as they meet and, eventually, try to solve their problem together. 

Sally is the first-person narrator to whom we regularly return, and we meet the other women through third-person chapters. It’s clear each dead husband ‘had it coming’ Chicago-style, but each woman finally free of terror, revolts at the idea of imprisonment when they might easily have been the murdered. The reader can hardly blame them for wanting to avoid that fate and protect their children from the truth by trying to get away with it.

Sally, in taking steps to hide her own crime, eventually recognises her plight in the three other women and they form the Lockdown Ladies’ Burial Club. Along with working out together how to explain their husbands’ disappearances and hide the evidence, they must manage a series of obstacles and complications, which include a hypervigilant neighbour, meddlesome family members and prying workmates.

So yes, the humour is dark, and the reader, having witnessed their suffering, is definitely rooting for the women to get away with it. But Casale takes the story beyond a blackly comic revenge fantasy. She brings her background in human rights advocacy, specialising in work on violence against women and girls, to bear as each woman falteringly works through her trauma, including how their hopes and early happiness reached this point – trapped in a life of abuse which they couldn’t escape. It’s this combined lightness of touch and depth of understanding that grips the reader and left me devouring pages as I had to find out how – and if – they might overcome every threat of discovery.

The Best Way to Bury Your Husband is often funny but just as often it is kind and compassionate, allowing that lives and feelings are complex. It’s also a very wonderfully told story of friendship, hope and optimism for a better future.