An offbeat follow-up to her impressive debut (Willful Neglect, 1997)—offbeat in the sense that there are no corpses, no clues, no cops, no usual suspects. And yet there certainly is a mystery, one that Isabel Cartwright Bennet has been trying to solve ever since she left Malaya at the age of seven, a step ahead of the invading Japanese army. What happened to her parents? Why so little official trace of fairly high-profile people? Now it’s 30 years later. Isabel’s married, the mother of two, a functioning homemaker. But emotionally she’s off-balance, and she knows it. There are secrets haunting her. And then one day her brother calls. He has to go to Malaya on business. Does Isabel want to come along? She leaps at the chance, though she does wonder a bit why it’s being offered. Victor, a baby when they fled Malaya for England, has never shared her passionate need to know. In his view, history is history and only that, confined to the past, non-affective in any other tense. But—more than he’s prepared to acknowledge—he loves his sister, depends on her, finds pleasure in her company. They return to their country of birth; they even locate “the house at the edge of the jungle.” But startling things happen to them there, and when Malaya yields her secrets, both their lives are irrevocably changed. It’s possible that more is made of Isabel’s mystery than is warranted. But Isabel herself—as quirky and unpredictable as she is believable and fascinating—will keep you steadily turning pages.