A flash of déjà vu involves an amateur sleuth in a bizarre case in a mystery set in 1920s England.
Now married to author Jack Haldean, whom she first met when she was a murder suspect (After the Exhibition, 2014), Betty Wingate invites her friend Jenny Langton for a girls’ night out, little suspecting that it will lead to one of Jack’s most unusual cases. The ambitious Jenny has secretly been feeding her estate-agent boss articles on the capabilities of modern women, so he gives her the chance to go and write up a property. The housekeeper of the 1882 dwelling is delighted to show her around, but Jenny has the strange feeling she’s seen it before and even knows the color schemes of the rooms before she sees them. Although she’s greatly upset by these feelings, she’s utterly unprepared for the moment when she touches a cedar tree in the garden, sees a monster, and faints. When she confides in Betty that evening that she fears she’s losing her mind, Betty urges her to talk to Jack, whose very practical suggestion that Jenny had either visited or lived in the house as a child is supported by further investigation. When Caroline Trevelyan vanished from the house in 1907, her husband, Michael, was suspected of murdering her even though her body was never found. Jenny asks her brother, Martin, about this history, and he grudgingly admits that Jenny had indeed lived there as the daughter of Caroline and Michael; his parents later brought her up as one of their own because his mother was Caroline’s sister. DCI Bill Rackham, the friend Jack brings on the case to get access to police records, is glad to help because he’s taken a shine to Jenny. But then someone who knew the Trevelyans in the past is murdered, and Jenny’s father becomes the main suspect despite her aunt’s protestations that he’s as innocent now as he was back then.
A delightful period piece you won’t put down until the truth is revealed.