I said last year when I read this author’s debut novel that she was one to watch out for and I think that is the case.
This book has a lightness to it but still is a rather intriguing mystery. What seems like two independent stories, simply featuring the same setting, clearly have to link, but how and who are all these characters?
Raven Hall – Past
Beth turns up at this big house, out the way in the Fens on the east of the country. Her aunt who really does not want the responsibility of an orphaned niece, has brought her here to live with Markus, Leonora and daughter Nina. Nina is of the same age as Beth, and it is hoped that the girls will form a companionship, as Nina is rarely let out of the house. There is something odd about this family set up, when Nina falls ill it is left to Beth to fill a purpose, but the question is why?
Raven Hall – Present Day
The big mysterious house is the perfect setting for a murder mystery weekend. Sadie an actress waiting for her big break gets the opportunity to take part in the test event to presumably publicise these weekends. Needing the money and the purpose she jumps at the chance, to play Miss Lamb. She turns up and thinks this going to be easy money. One of the clues to the game is quite near the truth and it looks like that perhaps this might not be a game after all.
How does it all come together? Who are all these people and how can a simple game reveal all the past as it all comes tumbling out as people go missing, start feeling ill and turning up unexpectedly.
A book with twists and turns, I thought I could see the path the author was intending us to go on, but on some occasions I was wrong. For thriller fans, they may want something a bit more darker and gruesome, but a lot was said about the setting and the characters without it being said at all. The art of suggestion enabled the red herrings and the twists and turns to work for me.
For the infamous ‘second novel’ this was very good and I stand by my original thoughts – this is an author to watch.
Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
The Perfect Guests is out now.