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Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Rosamund Lupton
Crown, 2011

Beatrice and her sister Tess have always been close, so when Beatrice doesn’t hear from Tess for several days she begins to worry. It turns out that Beatrice is right to worry. Tess, who is single and pregnant, is officially missing. Beatrice quickly travels home to London to find out what happened, and she is shocked to learn that Tess’ baby died several weeks earlier. Not only that, but Tess had been stalked by someone who left frightening messages on her phone and watched her through her windows at night. Then, when Tess is found dead of an apparent suicide, Beatrice starts to investigate on her own, convinced that Tess would never take her own life.

Part psychological drama, part medical thriller, and part mystery, this fast-paced suspense story will keep you alert and interested in the outcome. Beatrice seems driven by a combination of guilt over moving away from her sister in London and determination to prove the police wrong about her sister’s death. When Tess’ therapist tells the police that Tess suffered from hallucinations brought on by illicit drug use, Beatrice works even harder to prove that she was murdered. She feels so close to a motive, but every turn seems to result in a dead end. Could it be that Beatrice is starting to lose her own grip on reality? Everyone else seems to think so.

If there is such a thing as a quiet suspense story, this would be it. The book’s structure has alternating chapters between a letter that Beatrice narrates to her sister and an interview that Beatrice has with an attorney explaining her every step to solve the mystery. While I was not as riveted to the book as others were, I found the story compelling and the premise intriguing enough to keep reading. A surprise twist at the end, however, left me feeling a bit betrayed and disappointed.


This is the author's first novel.

Other titles you may enjoy:

The Water’s Lovely by Ruth Rendell (2006)
A decade after the killing of her stepfather, Ismay is still haunted by nightmares of his murder and of seeing his naked body floating in the bathtub and her sister, Heather, standing over him.

The Vanishing of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell (2007)
Iris Lockhart receives news that her great-aunt Esme is being released from Cauldstone Hospital, where she has been confined for more than sixty years, and soon discovers that Esme holds the key to long-hidden family secrets that could change her life forever.

The Secret Smile by Nicci French (2004)
Discovering that her sister has become involved with a deceptive man whom she herself dumped weeks earlier, Miranda becomes increasingly apprehensive when her sister begs Miranda to let them both live with her while they find a place of their own.

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