Release Date: Dec 4, 2018
Series: The Iris Grey Mysteries
Imprint: Minotaur Books
The annual Christmas Eve party given by author Dom Wetherby and his wife Ariadne is eagerly attended by Hazelford locals as well as television celebrities and the media. This year’s attendees include artist Iris Grey who is renting Mill Cottage on the Wetherby estate. Iris is taking a break from a troubled marriage and focusing on her painting. She is commissioned to paint the charismatic Dom’s portrait and in her dealings with the family learns there is another side to the members of the Wetherby family than what they show to the outside world. The morning after the party, Dom’s young son Lorcan tests his remote control boat in the Itchen River and discovers a body. Iris doesn’t agree with the direction the police investigation is going and is surprised to learn that in addition to her skills as an artist, she seems to have a talent for sleuthing.
The book begins with the scene in which Lorcan discovers the body, then flashes back two months. This method is effective because the reader is introduced to several characters, which creates tension as you are left wondering which one of these characters you’re getting to know will be the victim. About a third of a way into the book, the story goes back to the present and Lorcan’s gruesome discovery. When Iris is asked to look for clues by a member of the Wetherby family, she has her work cut out for her. There are many secrets within the highly dysfunctional Wetherby family which has far-reaching effects for them as well as their friends and colleagues so there are plenty of suspects. As the story continues, the author really keeps you guessing as to the motive of the crime and the identity of the killer.
I liked Iris more and more as the book progresses. She is smart, determined, and sympathetic even to those who may not seem to deserve the benefit of the doubt. The motive for the murder is more complicated than it seems at first and the outcome of the case isn’t what Iris or the reader expects. However, all of the events from the past and present result in a strong conclusion to an interesting novel. In a Question and Answer section at the end of the book, the author has promised a sequel, and I would definitely be interested in reading more mysteries featuring Iris Grey.