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An Interactive Mystery

by Lindsey Lamar

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2024
ISBN: 9798218323851
Publisher: Experiment 42

In Lamar’s formally playful mystery novel, the reader is the private investigator in a case of attempted murder.

This thriller combines a murder mystery with a puzzle game, positioning the reader as the investigator. Provided with multiple case files presented in a specific order, readers are called to solve the mystery as they sift through the evidence. These case files take the forms of diagrams, letters, diary entries, and police interviews, each filled with potential clues as to the culprit and motives behind the mysteries presented in the novel. The primary mystery, set in 2023, concerns the disappearance of Sillian Parks. Much of this evidence is relayed by Jane Parks, Sillian’s twin sister. Jane takes the narrative reins for this portion of the novel, though she proves to not be the most reliable of narrators. This is one of the novel’s triumphs: Simple obfuscation owing to the narrative’s point of view works wonders in keeping the mystery alive, even as clues are not-so-subtly revealed. The book is divided into 10 “Case Files,” which are further divided into smaller pieces of evidence. Most of the files conclude with hints for the reader to consider about the clues provided throughout, and the head detective delivers larger updates at some crucial points. Apart from Jane’s portions of the narrative, the most plentiful evidence comes from the diary of Mary Sophomore, who famously disappeared, along with her twin sister and their husbands, in the 1940s. This thread provides a parallel narrative to the twins in the present day, and their connection becomes integral to solving the mystery. The historical account is the most engaging element of the novel, as Lamar’s prose displays delightful wit in these passages (“next to the abandoned body that the ants had already found, I turned to face her and speak in a hushed tone. ‘I’m forever in debt. Thank you.’ She placed her hand on the car’s door handle. ‘Yes, you are’”). All of characters read as white, but there is some diversity in sexual orientation.

A gamified reading experience that effectively pulls the reader into the story.