Monthly Archives: June 2019

Rebecca

I don’t know how this book flew under my radar for so long, it’s everything I love in a book.

Daphne Du Maurier’s book opens with a dream. The main character, Mrs. de Winter, the second, sets the scene, telling us of the dream she had of the place she briefly called home. We then go back with her, to the hotel where she first met her new husband, Maxim de Winter, a brooding character who is trying to get over the death of his wife, Rebecca.

When she arrives at Manderly, his English estate by the sea, she finds things are more mysterious than she believed. Rebecca died in a boating accident, despite being an experienced boater. However, as the new Mrs. de Winter tries to get into a rhythm, she can’t help but feel like the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers dislikes her, simply on the basis that she’s replacing Rebecca. The longer the new Mrs. de Winter is at Manderly, the more she gets the feeling there are secrets she is unaware of, but she soon finds out they are darker than she could have imagined.

Du Maurier writes an engaging story of mystery and suspense, full of dark secrets and dark characters. Du Maurier never gives us the name of the second Mrs. de Winter, which adds to the sense of mystery about the story. The characters are also mostly grey characters, filled with both good and bad, making them relatable and realistic.

The story started off a little slow, but it picked up quickly, and kept my attention so that I didn’t want to put it down, I was desperate to finish the book and know what happened. Du Maurier leads readers to think different things, dropping hints along the way and red herrings, so that when you reach the end, you find out the characters were playing games with each other the whole time.

If you haven’t already, Rebecca is definitely worth the read.

 

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Alexander McCall Smith’s series has been very popular, a long-running mystery series about a female detective. I didn’t know much about it, but decided to snag a copy at the library’s used book sale. After all, it was only 50 cents.

Precious Ramotswe has always had unusual abilities to remember details, and it comes in handy when she decides to open The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in her small town in Botswana. She’s off to a slow start, with only a few clients. But Precious is able to advise, as well as track down a few wayward husbands, uncover a few con men, and help the relationship between an over-protective father and his wayward daughter.

Mixed into the plain narrative of Precious’ early escapades is her history. The apple of her father’s eye, Precious did mostly everything right, except for her choice in husband. But through it all, Precious perseveres and makes a name for herself as a private detective. But she risks it all, up to and including her life, to solve the mystery of a disappeared boy who she’s certain was abducted by a witch doctor for nefarious reasons.

This first book in the series was a quick read. I’m not quite certain how I feel about the writing style. Not quite rambling, it’s written in a plain sort of style. Though written in third person, you can easily imagine you’re sitting in a room with this woman, listening to her tell the story of her detective agency, tangents and all.

I expected the book to focus on one case, but it was written in a more Sherlockian style, with a collection of cases quickly resolved through logic. I’d be interested to see if the other stories are similar, or if they are more focused on a single case.

McCall Smith’s series is different than most of the mysteries I read, but a nice change from the hardcore murder mysteries and thrillers I’ve mostly been reading (though I love those too, most of the time). While it may not exactly be my cup of tea (remains to be seen), I can see why it’s been a popular series.

The Girl Before

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney was really popular when it first came out, so when I had the chance, I decided to grab a copy and see what it was all about.

The story follows two women living in the same house at different times. Emma, who first moved in with her boyfriend, and Jane, who moved in a year later. The house was built by an architect who had lots of rules, making the house a fit for only the right kind of people.

Shortly after she moves in, Jane discovers that Emma died there, and while many people suspected foul play, there was never conclusive proof to point to a specific suspect. Unable to leave it alone, Jane starts investigating on her own, trying to find out what happened to Emma to make sure it doesn’t happen to her.

Although it was an engaging story, I wasn’t really sold. It’s was a story where I found myself not liking any of the characters, no one was quite who they presented themselves to be.

That said, the short chapters made it a quick read. The pages flew by, and it did engage your mind, trying to uncover the lies and figure out who each character really was.

It wasn’t a bad story, and I’d certainly recommend it to people who enjoy thrillers, but I’m not chomping at the bit to more of Delaney’s work.

Don’t You Cry

If you ever get the chance to snag a Mary Kubica book, do it. Her thrillers are uniquely written, each storyline leading to a logical conclusion that you didn’t quite see coming.

In Don’t You Cry, Quinn Collins is getting nervous, because her roommate Esther Vaughn disappeared without a trace. Becoming increasingly more frantic, Quinn searches Esther’s stuff for clues, and finds cryptic, creepy letters addressed to “My Dearest,” and signed “EV.” Quinn starts to wonder if Esther is really the person she thought.

Meanwhile, a few hours away, Alex Gallo sees a mysterious woman show up in the diner he works at. Inexplicably drawn to her, Alex is desperate to know more about her, to know her secrets. But the truth is more sinister than he could have imagined.

Though a little slow to start (or maybe it’s just because my mind has been obsessed with other things lately), Don’t You Cry May actually be my favorite of the three Kubica books I’ve read. Written in first person, it’s easy to get sucked into Quinn’s panic and confusion, and easy to feel sympathy and understanding with Alex and his sudden crush.

Don’t You Cry is a new twist on a domestic thriller, and it leads you in several directions before all the clues fall into place, pointing to the logical conclusion.