When Stella Darnell is asked by William Frost to investigate the death of his brother, Richard, she wants to say no. Especially when it sounds like an open and shut case – by all eye witness accounts, including that of her colleague and friend, Jack, Richard threw himself under an underground train. William seems incapable of taking no for an answer though and Jack is keen to take on the case, so she says yes.
Given that Stella runs a cleaning agency, it might seem a bit of a leap, but she has a track record – she has already solved two cold cases, ones her father (a detective) couldn’t let go of. This is different, because it isn’t a cold case and it isn’t linked to her dad, or at least it doesn’t look like it is. Instead, it goes back to Richard’s childhood and that of two other boys, Simon and Justin. There are flashbacks to all three boys through the first half of the book that are key to what is happening in the now.
The flashbacks are important because they help a lot of seemingly separate parts of the story fall into place but I also found them confusing at first. Chapters were titled by date not the character and a couple of times I had to flick back a few pages to remind myself whose eyes I was seeing events through. This got easier as the book went on and the characters became more real for me – allowing me to tell the difference between their voices.
At one point, Stella talks about detecting as being like a puzzle with the pieces falling into place and this very much describes this book. Only you aren’t given the pieces in the most obvious order, leaving gaps and questions that kept me reading. This makes it my type of crime fiction. I like it when I’m kept guessing. Plus, it helps keeps building the tension, which Lesley Thomson maintained pretty much through to the end.
This is the third in The Detective’s Daughter series and, having read all three, probably my favourite. For me, the characters are a little bit more rounded than the previous books and it feels more confident. As such I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to others, the only thing I might say is to start at the beginning because there are references to Jack’s behaviour especially that aren’t too well explained and might confuse someone new to the series. Other than that though, definitely worth reading.
I read the first one in this series but was slightly underwhelmed (mainly by the characterisation) but now think maybe I should have persevered. Great review.
Thanks. I think I gave it a chance because I liked her first book (A Kind of Vanishing). I’m glad I did but I can see how it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste.
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[…] was a good read though, as were the final two books in my accidental “crime-fest”, The Detective’s Secret by Lesley Thomson and Before We Met by Lucie […]