When reading and talking about books turns into a game of cat and mouse, when jealousy reigns and secrets are no longer hidden.. that is when a book club turns into a crime scene in Betsy Reavley’s intriguing new thriller ‘Murder at the Book Club.’
A Cambridge book club, whose members have become friends. Each meeting takes place at someone’s home and, although every single member has a different character, they share a love of and for books. We follow Toni on her way to the meeting and listen in on her – envious and snobbish – thoughts. Appearances are all that matters to judgmental Toni who is married to doting but extremely dull Gerald. Among the other club members is today’s host, Marion, who loves to bake and is the peacekeeper of the group. With so many different characters, like Kim, who insists her daughters drive her to drink, the friends, Shirley and Janet, as well as Amy and Maggie, on occasion, the tension easily rises and today is no exception with Toni being her grumpy self and Kim not having anything of it. No wonder this meeting ends with a bang!
As we learn to know the women’s backgrounds and personal situations a vicious murder takes place. The identity of the victim comes as a shock. The impact on the book club is huge and the detectives, assigned with the task to solving the murder, have their case cut out for them with (ex-)husbands to consider, gossip, strained relationships and hidden secrets and somehow, every lead and new suspect they find points towards the book club… Whilst the remaining members are feeling anxious and little differences are blown into fights, whilst secrets are about to be unravelled, the detectives are frantically searching for the killer before they strike again… before the book club is left without any members…
I absolutely love the book cover of Betsy Reavley’s Murder at the Book Club! The title is what drew me in and made me want to read this novel – is it a detective novel or a psychological thriller? With so many characters shown to us, with the relationships and friendships entwined and realising how each character feels towards the other members of the club, it is easy to get distracted and forget that there is a murder to be solved! Recently, I read a fascinating blog post about describing your characters through their actions – and that is my only point here. The introductions into the characters, especially in the first chapters and particularly in Toni’s case, felt descriptive and repetitive whereas I’d rather have formed my opinion myself through their actions which would also increase the pace of the plot and put the reader right into the story.
Having said that, once I was ‘in’ I loved the interaction between the women and found it fascinating to see how our behaviour is perceived through the eyes of others – and how we humans can form opinions and be judgmental without knowing what really is going on behind someone else’s exterior. The author did an excellent job of showing us how outer appearances can be totally deceptive. The writing style is engaging and draws you into the lives of the women, makes you understand why some act as they do. This book combines elements of both a detective novel as a psychological thriller where slowly bit by bit, the underlying layers and motives for the characters’ behaviour are revealed. Oh and I was clueless as to the identity of the killer!
About the Author
Betsy Reavley is the author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife, Frailty, Carrion, Beneath the Watery Moon and the poetry collection The Worm in the Bottle. Betsy was born in Hammersmith, London, As a child she moved around frequently with her family, spending time in London, Provence, Tuscany, Gloucestershire and Cambridgeshire.
‘Murder at the Book Club is available at Amazon
|Publisher||Bloodhound Books (7 Aug. 2018)|