Lucinda Riley book reviewed

The Murders at Fleat House

Lucinda Riley

Pan MacMillan

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

What a treat to hear this author’s voice from beyond the grave and, even in this genre departure, Riley delights with crisp writing, interesting characters, mystery and romance.

It is interesting that Riley considered this book unfinished and therefore never sought to publish it in her lifetime.

I’m curious as to what edits she would have made since I could not detect any plot holes or unsolved mysteries and the story is as good as it is complete, in my opinion.

As with Riley’s most famous series, The Seven Sisters, secrets of the past echo through generations but in this story they set off a string of mysterious deaths.

Detective Jazzmine Hunter is the star of this mystery.

The talented investigator is asked by her former boss to tie up the loose ends around the death of a teenage boy at an elite boarding school.

Jazz, as she is affectionately known, is called in because of her proximity to the case. She has very recently taken up residence in a cottage in rural Norfolk and its isolation is no coincidence.

Jazz is running away from her failed marriage and, by default, her career, but she reluctantly agrees to help her former boss out on what appears to be a straightforward case.

However, as Jazz tries to close the loop, more strange coincidences occur and it is not long before she suspects foul play.

By the time the body count starts climbing, Jazz has been sent several London reinforcements, including her ex-husband, who is determined to use this opportunity to rekindle their relationship.

Mystery novels are not my favourite genre but Riley adds her own unique flair and flavour to this story which is intriguing from its opening lines.

To me, the biggest mystery will be how Riley planned to improve upon this story which, according to her son, she had completed long before she penned the last Seven Sisters book.

What a pity that we won’t be seeing more of detective Jazz Hunter.

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