By Rosamund Lupton
Crown Publishers 2010
Beatrice’s sister Tess has gone missing again. Bee is not particularly worried – Tess has done crazy things like this before. Instead, she is ready to give her baby sister an older sister reprimand about taking care of herself and her baby. But when Bee arrives in London, she discovers that her sister has been murdered. When the police rule it a suicide, she knows that it cannot be true. She starts to investigate on her own, barging into the house of her sister’s older lover, questioning the fellow student who was in love with her, and researching the medical study that her sister took part in so she could save her baby.
The reader knows from the beginning something bad has happened to Tess. Bee is actually writing to Tess, telling her what has happened since the moment that their mother called and said that Tess was missing. It is obvious from reading this story that Ms. Lupton is a sister. Her insight into that relationship is nuanced. Bee is certain she really knows her sister, the things she would or would not do. Her sister’s death instigates the first moment when she is unsure of just how strong their bond was.
“Facts of exploding shrapnel were ripping our relationship apart. You didn’t tell me when your baby died. You were depressed, but you hadn’t turned to me. I knew every painting you were working on, every friend, even the book you were reading and the name of your cat. (Pudding – I’d remembered the next day.) I knew the minutiae of your life. But I didn’t know the big stuff. I didn’t know you.”
This novel manages to be an intriguing mystery, a look at the morality of medical practices, and a lovely tribute to the relationship that sisters share. Oh, and have I mentioned the crazy twist ending? Yes, that too. This is a strong debut novel and a good mystery.