To celebrate the rerelease of Jane Isaac’s “An Unfamiliar Murder” today I am posting my original review – one of the first books I reviewed for the blog so a fairly nostalgic one for me. Tomorrow Jane will be a guest on the blog as part of my “Independent Bookshop” drop in feature so keep an eye out for that and see where Jane prefers to do her book shopping…
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My original Review: 2013.
Arriving home from a routine day at work, Anna Cottrell has no idea that her life is about to change forever. But discovering the stabbed body of a stranger in her flat, then becoming prime suspect in a murder enquiry is only the beginning. Her persistent claims of innocence start to crumble when new evidence links her irrevocably with the victim…
Leading her first murder enquiry, DCI Helen Lavery unravels a trail of deception, family secrets and betrayal. When people close to the Cottrell family start to disappear, Lavery is forced into a race against time. Can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?
So, you know how sometimes when you start a book, you get that little frisson of excitement because you are fairly sure you are about to add another set of novels to that already large grouping that you call “must read whenever there is a new one”? I had that feeling here, probably about a quarter of the way through the book.
Anna returns home from work one day to discover her flat broken into and a dead body occupying it. Which as you can imagine, is a bit of a shock. Suspected by the Police, and discovering that her life wasnt quite what she thought it was, Anna’s world is turned upside down. Enter DCI Helen Lavery (who I assume we are going to meet again – if not I may have to write a strongly worded letter!) leading her first Murder enquiry whilst juggling family life and responsibilities.
Here’s what I loved on a personal level. I could relate very strongly to both the female leads here – Firstly, Helen Lavery is a woman after my own heart when it comes to dealing with stroppy teenagers and juggling the needs of the rest of the family whilst still holding down a high powered job. No she’s not perfect, who amongst us is? But she is realistically imperfect in the way of the real world rather than the fictional world. Then there is Anna. For reasons I can’t mention due to my determination never to include spoilers, I really was right there with her – some of what she goes through I have been through myself (no, not finding bodies in my living room I promise, or any sort of violence!)and her reactions are very realistic – or at least I imagine they are as they mirror my own in a lot of ways.
From a readers point of view – you get a great mystery, almost Christie-esque (although I’m sure the author won’t mind me saying she’s not quite Christie!) in its presentation and resolution and some terrific supporting characters to back up the wonderful leading ladies. I kind of hope we meet Anna again as well – the relationship that develops between them is in its infancy here, but is fascinating none the less and I would like to see it explored further. All in all a darn good yarn – and I am looking forward with great anticipation to the next novel from this writer.