Domestic Weirdness

Here are three more books that may interest you. They are all mysteries, but each of a different type. One is a murder mystery, one is a missing person mystery, and one is a family heritage mystery.

Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane describes itself as being a domestic suspense novel. In the Acknowledgements, the author implies that they have created a new genre in this, but I can”t help thinking that the Bronte sisters beat them to it.

The “pretty little wife” who is the protagonist is not a very likeable character but the reader has sympathy for her because her husband is just plain nasty. When he disappears, the cast of characters is improved considerably by the clever and long-suffering police inspector who is put in charge of the case.

The domestic suspense actually ends quite soon in the story, but the tension and mystery are sustained throughout with lots of interesting plot twists. There are also some surprises at the end, but I won’t give those away. Don’t be put off by the title of the book; it is really not about a pretty little wife at all.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman is great fun. Backman has a delightful sense of humour and if you enjoyed A Man Called Ove you will like this tale, too. In reading this book I felt as though Backman likes people in spite of themselves. He sees good in everyone and accepts the foibles and eccentricities along with the good qualities and ordinariness.

A group of complete strangers is in an apartment for an open house, and due to a bizarre set of circumstances they have to remain there for an indefinite period of time. They have to assess themselves, each other, and their circumstances and find a way to extricate themselves successfully. In doing so, they explore right and wrong, fear and courage, love and hate, grievance and forgiveness.

It is a wonderfully unusual plot, and the interwoven life stories are told with wit and wisdom. You will end up appreciating all the people in the apartment and the police officers who are keeping them from leaving.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell begins with a woman, Libby, inheriting a house in London. From the first time she sees the house, we know that things are going to get dark and twisted. There are unexplained noises upstairs and a gradual unravelling of a strange family history.

The mystery involves the people who lived a communal lifestyle in the house. They were led by a man who was both charismatic and self-centred, and who ultimately kept them trapped, separated from the outside world. Libby seeks to find out how these people died and what became of the children, and the plot takes many twists and turns in finding all this out. Among others, we meet a man who grows drugs and a woman who is a violinist and lives on the streets in France.

Although this story involves drugs, homelessness, and cults, it is also very engaging. I had to keep reading to find out how the mysteries were explained and what happened in the end.

12 Comments

    1. Each of these was a little bit odd but an enjoyable read nonetheless. I’m happy to post my thoughts about the books I read, although I don’t consider them to be legitimate reviews. I’m just another reader trying to get through the pandemic!

  1. Fredrick Backman is my new favorite author. But really off-topic, I recommend “The Prophets” by Robert Jones Jr. I am reading some books involving Black culture and this one takes place in slave time. Shame on Americans and slavery and other atrocities we have committed and continue to even into very present times. Next book for me might take awhile to read as it is quite lengthy but worth the time I feel certain. It is “The Warmth of Other Suns’ by Isabel Wilkerson.
    Note: I had my 2nd Covid vaccine on Tuesday and today is my first day up and moving since. Golly, I have had some powerful responses to both injections. So glad to be finished! So if I have made little sense, I blame the vaccine!

    1. Thank you for the recommendations, Mary Beth. I’ll add them to my list.

      I’m sorry you had a bad reaction to the vaccine, but glad that you are now feeling better. Now you are up and about you can join me in solving all the world’s problems again! 😉

  2. “In reading this book I felt as though Backman likes people in spite of themselves. He sees good in everyone and accepts the foibles and eccentricities along with the good qualities and ordinariness.”
    I love your description of Backman’s depictions of people. I haven’t read “Anxious People” yet, but I have read “A Man Called Ove” and “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry”. He does this in those two books as well.

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