Historical novel set in 1930s SINGAPORE
Thriller set off the coast of CORNWALL
15th August 2022
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney, thriller set off the coast of CORNWALL.
#audiobook narration by Stephanie Racine.
There are very familiar echoes of Agatha Chrisie’s And Then There Were None (set on an island off the coast of Devon). Seaglass is an old, dilapidated house, owned by the grandmother of the Darker family, which sits on its own private island off the coast of Cornwall. Grandmother is a children’s author and illustrator, and several years ago she had her palm read where she discovered that she would not live beyond her 80th birthday. And here she is, gathering together her family members, who haven’t been under the same roof for over a decade, in order to celebrate her 80th birthday. They arrive one after the other, before the island’s causeway disappears under the sea for up to 12 hours. Attending are the three Darker sisters, their separated parents, a niece and a local young friend, who spent considerable time with the girls, when, as children, they were on their Summer break with their grandmother. The disparate group of revellers (!) are cut off and someone starts a killing spree. It is also Halloween to add an extra frisson to the narrative.
The story is told pretty much through Daisy’s eyes. She is the youngest of the three sisters, all of whom are named after flowers. Daisy was born with a serious heart condition and has technically died on several occasions but medical interventions have always been summoned. She is frail but she is shrewd, as she observes her family dynamics and the unfolding drama.
As the bodies mount up, the party has to contend with shifting familial relationships and with strategically placed video cassettes, that appear out of nowhere, followed up by a deluge of poems, penned to highlight the misdemeanours and flaws of different family members. Frankly, none of the individuals are particularly likeable, so when one after the other gets bumped off, it’s a bit of a shoulder shrug from the reader. The author clearly had fun imbuing her characters with their idiosyncraticies.
The nub of the novel, of course, is to find out who is behind the killings, and it all becomes clear, with a few good twists along the way.
The Cornwall setting is one of sea and storm, the waves pounding and the skies glowering with storm. A good read.
Tina for the TripFiction
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