Top positive review
An engaging and, at times, emotional mystery.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 September 2021
It is not particularly unusual for the marketing blurb to describe a book that they think people will want to read rather than the one the author actually wrote, but this is one of those more rare occasions where the story is a significantly better, more rounded (and certainly less melodramatic) affair than its blurb suggests.
This is the second book I have read in recent weeks that has been influenced to a degree by the real life story of Mary Bell. When young couple, Saffy and Tom, set up home in the former home of Saffy's grandmother, Rose, they have no idea what they are about to unearth and the shocking path of discovery that they will be led down.
If you are looking for an action-packed page turner that moves along at a rollicking pace, then this probably isn't the book for you. Whilst it is not exactly a slow-burner as such, the author has taken a considered approach and, for the most part, the layers of the mystery only unfurl very gradually. There are plenty of interesting twists and turns, but I suspect that the pace of the story may not be to everyone's liking. Even though there was never a point where I wasn't enjoying the read, there were times when I felt it could have benefitted from an increased tempo.
The characterisation is impressive throughout. Each individual protagonist is well-drawn and fully formed, making them entirely credible and relatable. The storyline has also been intricately plotted and holds together nicely. It has to be said that one or two events lean towards being a touch too convenient, but are necessary mechanics to move the plot forward. However, in the overall scheme of things, these instances are forgivable.
All in all, Claire Douglas has succeeded in producing an engaging and, at times, emotional mystery that held my interest and is easy to recommend.