First of all, I would like to thank the family of Lucinda Riley for deciding to release this forgotten work by the author without many editions. The author is a household name for fans of historical fiction, but The Murders At Fleat House is her first foray into crime fiction and it is sad to know that she wouldn’t be able to continue writing this genre as her central protagonist DI Jazz Hunter seems like someone who needs a series by her own. Essentially Lucinda Riley’s historical fiction always carries a thread of mystery intertwined thru its story, the few books I have read had a dual timeline narrative added to the bargain providing a new dimension to the unraveling of the family dynamics at the end.
The Murders At Fleat House is the author at her best, weaving a crime thriller in the past to the events in the present. DI Jazz and her teammates Miles and Izzy are characters that gave “not completed yet” vibes. There is a small background of DI Jazz and the return of her ex in the story but as a reader, I felt that there is much history and many stories waiting to be explored by the author which sadly will never be done now.
Fleat House of the St Stephen’s boarding school finds itself at the center of mayhem when a child is discovered dead in his room. The investigation that proceeds with the arrival of Jazz and Miles reveals the secrets that have connections to events in the past. Effectively talking about the bullying and psychological trauma suffered by some students, the author has also highlighted issues of alcohol addiction thus creating a twisty page-turner. The characters are well-crafted and even the pathetic Angela Miller and the incompetent headmaster of the school evoke pity at the turn of the events that rock their respective lives.
The Murders at Fleat House is not an adrenaline-rush thriller but at no point in the story, does the reader feel any lapse in pacing. The police procedural that shows the inquiries leading to more than one murder inside Fleat house is a ‘one thread leading to another puzzle’ type that untangles in a steady manner. I had guessed the culprit in the beginning but was happy with the author’s jumbled yarn that linked the past and present into one engrossing narrative.
Many thanks to Net Galley, AuthorBuzz, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
The Murders at Fleat House is a suspenseful and utterly compelling crime novel from the multi-million copy global bestseller, Lucinda Riley.
The sudden death of a pupil in Fleat House at St Stephen’s – a small private boarding school in deepest Norfolk – is a shocking event that the headmaster is very keen to call a tragic accident.
But the local police cannot rule out foul play and the case prompts the return of high-flying Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter to the force. Jazz has her own private reasons for stepping away from her police career in London, but reluctantly agrees to front the investigation as a favour to her old boss.
Reunited with her loyal sergeant Alastair Miles, she enters the closed world of the school, and as Jazz begins to probe the circumstances surrounding Charlie Cavendish’s tragic death, events are soon to take another troubling turn.
Charlie is exposed as an arrogant bully, and those around him had both motive and opportunity to switch the drugs he took daily to control his epilepsy.
As staff at the school close ranks, the disappearance of young pupil Rory Millar and the death of an elderly Classics master provide Jazz with important leads, but are destined to complicate the investigation further. As snow covers the landscape and another suspect goes missing, Jazz must also confront her personal demons . . .
Then, a particularly grim discovery at the school makes this the most challenging murder investigation of her career. Because Fleat House hides secrets darker than even Jazz could ever have imagined . . .
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