Sunday, 14 April 2019

Books and tea on a cold, rainy morning...

It was a positively lovely, sunny day yesterday but it’s turned cold and rainy, with the rain not likely to let up all day.  My steaming cup of chai tea, delicious Date Bar and freshly baked Date Bread are welcome treats to keep me warm and cozy on what seems like a good day to stay in and read!
Last week I read The Suspect by Fiona Barton, and it was fabulous!  This is her third book featuring reporter Kate Waters, and I think I enjoyed it nearly as much as her first one, The Widow, which is saying alot because I really, really enjoyed that one!.   On a late-August day, what reporters at The Post call “the silly season”, when not much is happening that is newsworthy, senior reporter Kate Waters is writing celebrity pieces to fill the pages of her newspaper when the story of two missing British girls in Thailand comes across her desk.  The mother of one of the girls, Alex, is concerned because she hasn’t heard from her daughter in a few days, and they had made arrangements to speak the day before so Alex could hear the results of her university applications. Alex’s travelling companion, Rosie, a last-minute stand-in for her best friend Mags, who backed out of the plan, has also not been heard from, and the paper picks up the story to help with the families’ search for their daughters.  What everyone thinks is an innocent case of teens going off on an excursion and forgetting to call home soon ends in tragedy when they turn up dead, seemingly victims of a fire at the guesthouse where they were staying. Kate convinces her boss that they need to go to Bangkok to investigate further to find out what really happened, but what she could not have anticipated was that her eldest son, Jake, who, as far as she and her husband knew, has been working at a turtle conservation site in Phuket for the past two years, turns out to have been present at the guesthouse on the night of the fire.  When he discharges himself from the hospital and flees, Kate becomes more than just “the reporter”, joining the ranks of the other “mothers” who want to find out what happened to their children in Bangkok. Just how involved was Jake, and why did he flee? Told in alternating chapters from the various points of view of Kate (“The Reporter”), Bob Sparkes (“The Detective”) and Alex’s mom, Lesley O’Connor (“The Mother”), this novel unfolds slowly, and we are treated to an insider’s detailed view of these experiences.  Throughout the novel, there are also chapters told from Alex's point of view, detailing the girls' experiences and movements in Thailand, and it is during these chapters that I found myself hoping for a better, simpler outcome, even though I knew the ultimate fate of the girls. This was an edge-of-your-seat read that had me looking at the clock and thinking “just one more chapter” every night before I had to finally close the book and go to bed. I finished it early this morning, and the ending did not disappoint. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys British mystery-thrillers. As a side note, after reading this book, I will never, ever go to Thailand!
That’s all for today.  Stay in, drink tea, and read!
Bye for now…
Julie

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