Genre: Crime, Mystery Fiction
This is a difficult book to classify. It’s contemporary, yes, but parts of it are set in the 1930s. It’s got a detective as a main character and there’s a crime storyline. But it’s also a bit of a family saga, and it has got a bit of romance too. At its heart though it’s a big old country house mystery.
I loved Morton’s first two books The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden, but was a bit disappointed with her next two. This latest one, for me, sits somewhere in the middle.
I did enjoy it. My criticisms would be that it’s possibly a bit too long and, at the beginning, a bit too slow. There are back-stories and back-stories to the back-stories.
However, having said that it’s worth persisting. Morton is a good enough writer to have kept me hooked just enough.
The characters are well drawn and engaging. The main character Sadie Sparrow, flawed female detective is no stereotype. She’s likable, determined and troubled. The supporting cast are all three dimensional, believable characters and Morton avoids any sort of cliché in their portrayal.
The plotting is complex, but cleverly and expertly handled. It was just that it lacked pace here and there.
The setting of Loeanneth, a grand old house in Cornwall, for the mystery element of the book is inspired and brilliantly depicted. Settings like this are a trademark of this author and she does them well. This grand old mansion has been deserted in a Marie Celeste type state for seventy years and Detective Sparrow is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to cause its desertion.
All in all this book is an intriguing and enjoyable read. The endings for both strands of the story are unexpected and satisfying and the way could be open for the further adventures of Detective Sparrow.
Type of Read: long haul, good one for your e-reader as it’s weighty – especially in hardback.