When Diana, the matriarch of the Goodwin family, unexpectedly dies soon after her beloved husband’s death, suicide seems the logical explanation. But the circumstances of her death quickly point to homicide, and too many family members seem to have motives.
When Lucy first met Diana, 10 years ago, she had desperately hoped to find a warm, loving future mother-in-law. And while her fiance, Ollie, adores his mother, his sister, Nettie, and her husband, Patrick, wryly warn her that Diana has always been more practical than sentimental. Aloof and absorbed with her volunteer work with refugees, Diana is an elegant woman of few words but lots of money. Although she is devoted to helping others navigate childbirth and the job market, she is loath to give her own children any money because she is convinced that they should have the opportunities to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, as she and her refugee clients have had to do. Frustrated by their mother’s financial indifference to their troubles, Ollie and Nettie long ago learned to turn to their soft-hearted father, Tom. Yet as Hepworth (The Family Next Door, 2018, etc.) shifts perspectives, chapter to chapter, we discover that Diana’s emotional reserve is actually secretiveness and uncertainty grounded in her own traumatic experiences. Her every attempt to show she cares is fraught with second-guessing how others might misconstrue her meaning. And it is this careful shifting of perspectives and time periods that exposes the sense of loss haunting the family, keeping the reader questioning who might have murdered Diana. Was it Lucy who finally snapped after Diana snubbed her one too many times? Or maybe Ollie, whose shady business partner may have pushed him into a desperate financial spot? Or perhaps Nettie and Patrick cannot wait for Diana’s estate. But why was the suicide note left in a drawer?
A mesmerizing domestic mystery.