In Moeller’s debut mystery thriller, a woman managing the restoration and sale of her late father’s estate encounters secrets, lies and a mystery involving missing women.
When Megan Archer finds her Washington business in financial straits, she accepts a lucrative offer for a property in England left to her by her father. When she arrives overseas, however, the buyer is missing; Megan’s sister Sara and her business partner are also nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, a church on the estate has parishioners and a priest who refuse to leave. She soon discovers that nine women have gone missing in the area and that a serial killer may be responsible. Author Moeller infuses her debut novel with suspense: Megan’s dreams and visions cryptically reveal things yet to come, and other riddles surface, including a bishop’s puzzling death from 10 years before. Megan intelligently pieces together clues while remaining sensible enough to be skeptical of people’s motives. Her low-key romance with DI Debersham is well-handled, never detracting from the main mystery, and the author’s tongue-in-cheek manner is consistently appealing, as when Megan discovers a literally buried secret. The novel also has an entertainingly retro, gothic ambiance throughout: phones and automobiles are largely ineffective; Megan stays in a castlelike gatehouse, contends with seemingly endless storms (with raindrops that “shatter”) and an ominous black dog, and, in a major plot point, even attends a séance.
A fine debut that effectively combines the twists of a murder mystery with the scares of a ghost story.