reviewed by Gail Byrd
Money is missing from a woman’s account, quite a lot of money. Does that have anything to do with her death? After all, she was in the early stages of dementia, her daughter, who normally took care of her, was away for the weekend, and many senior citizens in the area had been targeted by a scam to get their money.
The difference, none of them have died in the process.
When her former colleagues, three retired teachers, learn of her death and the other problems she has been having, they become concerned. However, they are regularly reassured by her daughter that she was constantly muddling her pills and her death is really just an unfortunate accident, one she brought about by taking the wrong pills. The police seem to be content with the explanation that all was just a mistake, and after doing some investigating, the death is declared an accident.
Still, her friends are uneasy. There are too many other things that aren’t quite right. Who is the man in the older van who keeps hanging around her house? Why is the young man, a friend of the dead woman’s daughter and her friend, constantly hanging around her house? What part in all this did the bank clerk, a former student, play, if any?
In addition to these questions, each of the friends has her own issues that range from needing to lose weight to remembering an old incident that could have resulted in terrible consequences, to dealing with a son who is withdrawn and moody and a grandson who is having trouble in school to name a few. All of this rolls together to create multiple questions that need to be answered, some of which are related to the main plot and some of which are not.
The friends decide to investigate, but this investigation isn’t exactly a joint effort. Often, one of the friends goes off on her own, makes inquiries, and then comes back to the group to share her latest discovery. Some of these investigations are regarding the main issue of how their friend died, others are related to personal issues or issues that seem to pop up as they become more involved with individuals they meet in the course of their investigation.
There is an over-arching plot of whether or not the friend was murdered and if so, by whom? There are multiple subplots that seem to take away from this question and serve to create a less than direct investigation. For this reason the plot seems somewhat uneven, as the story jumps from one issue, or one character to another. The overall plot is a good one, and provides a good mystery, although it may be too easily solved by the reader to be the only storyline in the book. The book might benefit from sticking with the main plot and the few sub-plots that are directly related to it rather than following the larger number of tangents included.
In summary, Hall has done a credible job of presenting a mystery that has several interesting components. It would be a smoother read if the book were limited to these plot lines in the book. It’s possible these additional plot lines are Hall’s method of developing her characters, but there might be ways to do that without muddying the main plot and investigation.
My thanks to Avon Books UK for an advance copy of this book for review. The opinions here are entirely my own.
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