When love dies, which is the better option, divorce or murder?
Rona Parish has a solid marriage, a thriving career as a biographer and a reputation for solving murders that she’d rather downplay (Unfinished Portrait, 2010, etc.). Her twin, Lindsey, has a messy love life, a job that may be terminated if she resumes her dalliance with a co-worker and a mystery she’d like her sister to look into for a member of her book club: Who is the person that’s been viciously obliterated in a school photograph of Springfield Lodge that was taken back in July 1951? Rona would rather not get involved, but she’s bored with her research on artist Elspeth Wilding; she’s upset with her mother’s decision to sell the family home now that she’s remarrying; and she’s concerned about her pal Magda’s nightmares, which began after being called onstage at a hypnotist’s performance. Coincidences spur Rona on. Her dad’s new love knows someone who knows someone who was at Springfield at the time. Someone else knows someone else, who might know something. Before Rona can firmly decline to investigate, she’s tracking down clues to that mutilated identity. She’s also trying to explain why Magda’s night terrors include images of a family she doesn’t know and why she insists that she’s telepathically connected to the husband who murdered his wife and disappeared. The school figure, who kills herself after being dumped by her great love in Moscow, is more easily resolved than Magda’s turmoil, which sends her and Rona off to confront that murderous husband and disengage her from the man’s psyche.
A plot overburdened with coincidences. And surely most readers will find telepathy as a plot device problematic.