The Wife and the Widow, a review by Joanna

posted in: 5 star read, Joanna | 0

The Wife and the Widow
Christian White

353 pages
Affirm Press
Published 2019


My first Read-In-One-Sitting book in ages! The Wife and the Widow is an ingenious murder mystery set on a small island off the coast of Victoria, Australia. While all domestic thrillers seem to promise a “twist you won’t see coming” these days, this one definitely delivered for me – it’s a fine line between feeling cleverly tricked versus feeling cheated, but White nails this one with his tale of two women learning terrible truths about their husbands.

When Kate Keddie’s husband John doesn’t return from an overseas trip, she learns that he’s been keeping multiple secrets from her. On (fictional) Belport island, a summer holiday destination for well to do Victorians, which largely shuts down in the winter, local resident Abby Gilpin finds a bag of clothes in the rubbish and begins to suspect that her husband Ray is hiding his own terrible secret. When a body is found, Kate travels to their holiday home on the island with her overbearing father in law, while Abby investigates on her own.
I’ve now read or listened to several of this author’s books, as the novellas are often free on Audible Australia, and I got Wild Place and then this one from Book Club. I’ve enjoyed them all, but this is the best so far: I’ve been largely avoiding this genre in the last year, so was in the mood for some atmospheric suspense and was happily surprised by how much I liked it, despite the unlikeable characters, familiar tropes and nauseating descriptions of taxidermy. 4.5 rounded up for successfully bamboozling me!

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