The Murderess is a heart-stopping story of family, love, passion and betrayal set against the backdrop of war-ravaged Britain. Perfect for fans of Lesley Pearse and Dilly Court. 1931: Fifteen year old Kate witnesses her mother Millicent push a stranger from a station platform into the path of an oncoming train. There was no warning, seemingly no reason, and absolutely no remorse. 1940: Exactly nine years later, Kate returns to the station and notices a tramp laying flowers on the exact spot that the murder was committed; the identity of the victim, still remains unknown. With a country torn apart by war and her family estate and name in tatters, Kate has nothing to lose as she attempts to uncover family secrets that date back to the Great War and solve a mystery that blights her family name.
A year ago I read and enjoyed The Liar by Jennifer Wells, a story that, sadly, I haven’t been able to discuss with many people, but it was featured on my BEST OF 2016 list. The second book by Wells, The Murderess, is also a twisty historical mystery featuring two different narrators and a dual timeline.
To be honest, I haven’t read many books like this one. They’re like domestic/psychological thrillers but set in the past, this time during the 10s, 30s and 40s. This detail gives The Murderess a bit of a “historical saga” feel, which I obviously love. But don’t worry: the mystery is the most important part of this novel.
This is the story of Kate, a young 25-year-old girl whose mother was convicted of the murder of an unknown woman. Kate doesn’t know why her mother did this, but she knows what she saw that day back then when she was fifteen years old. The book follows Kate’s investigation as well as Millicent’s life prior to the incident. And believe me, their tales are full of secrets and betrayal.
I read some reviews that stated that The Murderess was predictable, and although I certainly predicted a couple of things, I believe the novel had plenty of twists and turns and it was a really good mystery book overall. The first twist was my favorite because I honestly didn’t expect that at all and I felt kind of dumb for not having thought of that sooner. I agree that the ending was a great one and it made up for a slower middle section.
In the end, I think this is a smart, well-written mystery and more people should be reading Jennifer’s books. She’s totally underrated. After some thinking, I must say I prefer The Liar because I still recall a particular shocking scene that I will never get out of my mind, but this one was equally enjoyable and I will definitely read the author’s next novel.
Netgalley, Aria Fictio, 2017