From Publishers Weekly
In this assured suspense yarn from British veteran Barnard (A Fall from Grace
), Eve McNabb receives many consolation letters after the death of her mother, May, the beloved head of a school in Crossley, Yorkshire. One missive, though, is disturbingly different from the rest. Addressed to May and signed Jean, this letter suggests there was once a physical intimacy between Jean and May and makes a veiled reference to the business with John, Eve's late father. Determined to locate the unknown sender, Eve turns to Omkar Rani, an Indian policeman who's also a philatelist, for help in deciphering the envelope's smudged postmark. Omkar and Eve manage to track down an actress, Jean Mannering, who denies writing the letter, but drops the bombshell that Eve's father emigrated to Australia for his health and could still be alive. Eve travels to Australia, but a message from Okmar that there's been a murder in Crossley brings her home. Unexpected solutions and a clever closing switch make this a satisfying read. (May)
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*Starred Review* The latest whodunit from genre veteran Barnard is his best in many years. As this riveting story opens, Eve McNabb has returned to her childhood home in the north of England; her mother has died of cancer, and Eve needs to tend to the funeral and the estate. She is an only child, and her father left the family before Eve had any memory of him, going off to Australia, where he eventually died. Eve’s mother was a prominent educator in the town, and while Eve settles the estate, a strange letter arrives, addressed to her mother. The message contains enigmatic information suggesting a previously unknown side to Eve’s mother, prompting Eve to set off on a complicated search for more information about both her mother and her father, including whether what she was told about her father is really true. Of course, murder crosses Eve’s path along the way, as does a new love interest in the form of the police officer who’s been helping her track down the author of the mysterious letter. An involving mystery, compelling characters, and Barnard’s signature style add up to great entertainment. --Brad Hooper