Sunday, 9 February 2020

"It's a mystery" on a clear morning...

On this clear, bright, slightly chilly morning, I’ve got a steaming cup of chai tea and a delicious Date Bar as companions.  It looks like it’s going to be perfect for a long walk and a hot beverage as a reward.
Last week I went back to the mystery I was reading before my book club meeting forced me to stop and get through the required reading.  The Perfect Girl is a mystery by Gilly Macmillan, and it was a very gripping story.  Told from various points of view, this novel centres on Zoe Maisey, a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy who, three years earlier, was involved in a tragic car accident that caused the death of three other young people from her small English town.  When she is released from the juvenile facility after serving her sentence, she and her mother, Maria, move to Bristol to be near Maria’s sister, Tessa, and to make a fresh start. When the novel opens, Maria and her new husband Chris are attending a concert they organized at a church in town, with the hopes that this will kickstart Zoe’s halted musical career.  She is performing with her step-brother, Lucas, who is also a brilliant pianist, and they are just beginning the program when a man stands up and begins shouting at Zoe that she should not be allowed to carry on with a new life after taking his own daughter from him. Maria and Zoe manage to escape into the evening and return home while Lucas carries on performing alone.  When Chris and Lucas return several hours later, it proves to be a tense evening, and the next morning, Maria is found dead. But who killed her, and why? What readers are treated to for the rest of the novel are chapters from Tessa, Zoe, Zoe’s former solicitor Sam, and Tessa’s husband Richard, all telling their own stories as they try to fit the pieces together to determine what really happened.  This was a tense, engrossing read that offered snippets from Zoe’s past, but mainly focused on the present-day mystery. It wasn’t really fast-paced, but it kept me reading, not only because of the mystery, but also because I wanted to learn more about the characters that were taking turns telling the story. This is something Macmillan is very good at, developing characters, even minor ones, and making her books more dramas and psychological suspense than straightforward plot-driven thrillers. I have read a few other books by Macmillan, and they were all good reads, so if this is the kind of book you like, then this would be a good choice for you.  
That’s all for today.  Get outside and enjoy the mild-ish weather, but don’t forget to make time to read!
Bye for now…
Julie

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