Tag Archives: mystery/thriller

‘Let Me Lie’ by Clare Mackintosh

The police say it was suicide.

Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

This is my third domestic thriller by Clare Macintosh and I finally figured out why I like her stories so much–she really makes me care about the characters and that can be rare in a plot driven novel. There are plenty of twists and turns in her books, and a final gasp at the end, but each story is unique–nothing formulaic here. Incidentally, this clever author’s titles always have double meanings.

Losing one parent to suicide is hard enough, but imagine losing the second parent only six months later, ending their life in exactly the same manor–jumping from one of the cliffs at Beachy Head, near Eastbourne, UK. Anna is struggling to come to terms with her parents’ deaths, unable to comprehend why they chose to end their lives. She has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl named Ella, and is living with her partner Mark in her parental home. With a brand new baby she realizes the strength of a mother-child bond, and is missing her mother more than ever. Why would her mother put her through terrible grief again after losing her father so recently? There’s something that doesn’t sit right with Anna about the whole situation. But is it better to investigate, or just let it lie…

Beachy Head is one of my favourite scenic places in the world, and I have stayed in Eastbourne more than once, so the setting of this mystery really appealed to me. Of course the breathtaking height and views of the sea from these abrupt cliffs also hold tragic opportunity, which is sobering and renders the beauty bittersweet. My favourite of Mackintosh’s novels so far is still I Let You Go, but this and her other one called I See You, are all great choices if you are in the mood for an engrossing page turner.

‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey

Elizabeth is MissingstarstarstarstarstarGobbled up this stunning debut novel in no time…I just couldn’t put it down! How can a mystery be solved by someone who can’t remember the clues?

Might as well quote from the flyleaf, because it sets the story up best. “Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Back home she finds the place horribly unrecognizable–just like she sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger. But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her best friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unveiled seventy year-year old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone except Maud…”

This is a fantastic read, brilliantly executed, highly affecting, and thoroughly entertaining. It is a darkly comedic mystery/thriller but offers also a poignant insight into the life of someone with dementia. Because the narrator has dementia herself  (like in Still Alice by Lisa Genoa) the reader gains empathy for this frustrating illness–both for the person who suffers from it and for the carer. The voice of Maud herself is totally unforgettable.