"Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England. It's the sort of place where doctors and lawyers and old-money academics live. It's not the sort of place where people get stabbed in the back thirty times with a kitchen knife in their own homes. Someone must have seen something. Newlywed Joey Mullen, for example, recently returned from four years working in Ibiza. She and her husband Alfie are eager to find a place of their own in her hometown. But Joey finds herself distracted by the man next door, Tom Fitzwilliam. He's the principal of the local high school, twice her age, and devastatingly attractive. What starts as an innocent infatuation soon escalates into fixation, and before long, Joey can't keep her eyes off of Tom. Or the principal's son, Freddie, who dreams of working as a spy, and has been developing his surveillance skills by keeping meticulous logs of the coming and goings in the area. And, as he approaches his fifteenth birthday, his attention-and his lens-are turning more and more towards the local women. Or perhaps single mother Frances Tripp, who has long been convinced she is being stalked. Her teenage daughter Jenna is worried these delusions are signs of her mother's deteriorating mental health, particularly now that her paranoia has found a specific target: Tom Fitzwilliam. Frances is determined to keep an eye on him until she can prove that he is behind her persecution. Twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam. Nobody knows why this horrific murder was committed, but someone in Melville Heights knows who did it. As the community's fearful eyes turn on each other, the question remains: Who else is watching?"-
*Starred Review* Jewell follows her New York Times best-seller Then She Was Gone (2018) with another stellar domestic drama, this one set in an affluent neighborhood in Bristol, England. She has created a cast of well-defined characters whose lives are already intertwined at the start, even though they don't know it yet. Everyone has some sort of secret, and everyone is spying on each other, tracking each other, and orchestrating encounters with each other in a brilliantly plotted progression that has a charismatic schoolmaster at the center. Tom Fitzwilliam's neighbor is consumed by her infatuation with him. One of his students is also smitten, although her BFF doesn't trust him. His son, Freddie, in the throes of teenage angst, is confused by the mercurial relationship between his parents. Twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl chronicled her obsession with a handsome young teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam in her diary, and when the revelation of her suicide is stirred into an already bubbling cauldron of resentment and suspicion, it boils over and results in a brutal murder with an intriguing assortment of suspects. Expert misdirection keeps the reader guessing, and the rug-pulled-out-from-beneath-your-feet conclusion-coupled with one final, bone-chilling revelation-is stunning. Best not to bet on anyone. A compulsive read guaranteed to please fans of A. J. Finn and Ruth Ware. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
A young newlywed's life is upended, and a picturesque neighborhood is shattered, when she is suspected of a savage murder. At the beginning of a new year, Joey Mullen moves back to England from Ibiza with Alfie, her husband, whom she hastily married out of grief over the death of her mother. Jack, Joey's older brother, invites the young couple to move into his painted Victorian house in the upscale Bristol neighborhood of Melville Heights so they can get on their feet financially and help with the baby that Jack and his wife, Rebecca, are expecting. Joey quickly becomes infatuated with their neighbor Tom Fitzwilliam, a new headmaster charged with improving the local school. Her crush only intensifies when Alfie suggests having a baby, and Joey begins to suspect her marriage was a mistake. Meanwhile, Tom's wife, Nicola, struggles to fill her days and remains oblivious to their son, Freddie, who regularly spies on his neighbors and the village's teenage schoolgirls, taking thei r photos and keeping a detailed log of everyone's activities. This surveillance exacerbates the paranoia and mental illness of another neighbor, the mother of 16-year-old Jenna, one of Tom's students. Jenna's mother is convinced that she knows the Fitzwilliam family from a vacation incident years earlier (and that the family is now stalking her), but Jenna is more concerned that Tom may be having an inappropriate relationship with her best friend. After several months, tension in the neighborhood explodes, and Joey is suspected of a brutal murder. However, as the police gather evidence, it becomes clear how many secrets each family has been hiding. Jewell (Then She Was Gone, 2017, etc.) adeptly weaves together a complex array of characters in her latest thriller. The novel opens with the murder investigation and deftly maintains its intensity and brisk pace even as the story moves through different moments in time over the previous three months. Jewell's use of third-person n arration allows her to explore each family's anxieties and sorrows, which ultimately makes this novel's ending all the more unsettling. An engrossing and haunting psychological thriller. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
DC Rose Pelham kneels down; she can see something behind the kitchen door, just in front of the trash can. For a minute she thinks it’s a bloodstained twist of tissue, maybe, or an old bandage. Then she thinks perhaps it is a dead flower. But as she looks at it more closely she can see that it’s a tassel. A red suede tassel. The sort that might once have been attached to a handbag, or to a boot.
It sits just on top of a small puddle of blood, strongly suggesting that it had fallen there in the aftermath of the murder. She photographs it in situ from many angles, and then, with her gloved fingers, she plucks the tassel from the floor and drops it into an evidence bag, which she seals.
She stands up and turns to survey the scene of the crime: a scruffy kitchen, old-fashioned pine units, a green Aga piled with pots and pans, a large wooden table piled with table mats and exercise books and newspapers and folded washing, a small extension to the rear with a cheap timber glazed roof, double doors to the garden, a study area with a laptop, a printer, a shredder, a table lamp.
It’s an innocuous room, bland even. A kitchen like a million other kitchens all across the country. A kitchen for drinking coffee in, for doing homework and eating breakfast and reading newspapers in. Not a kitchen for dark secrets or crimes of passion. Not a kitchen for murdering someone in.
But there, on the floor, is a body, splayed facedown inside a large, vaguely kidney-shaped pool of blood. The knife that had been used is in the kitchen sink, thoroughly washed down with a soapy sponge. The attack on the victim had been frenzied: at least twenty knife wounds to the neck, back, and shoulders. But little in the way of blood has spread to other areas of the kitchen—no handprints, no smear, no spatters—leading Rose to the conclusion that the attack had been unexpected, fast, and efficient and that the victim had had little chance to put up a fight.
Rose takes a marker pen from her jacket pocket and writes on the bag containing the red suede tassel.
Description: “Red suede/suedette tassel.”
Location: “In front of fridge, just inside door from hallway.”
Date and time of collection: “Friday, March 24, 2017, 11:48 p.m.”
It’s probably nothing, she muses, just a thing fallen from a fancy handbag. But nothing was often everything in forensics.
Nothing could often be the answer to the whole bloody thing.