So I thought the mystery and a “thrill” of this novel were both stronger, more interesting, and better written than her previous novel. I am generally a sucker for a good English mystery novel, and one of the major improvements in this novel from the last is that the voice itself is better rendered than the previous one. This more or less actually feels like a person, and the narrator of In a Dark Dark Wood did not.
Another good step forward for this one was there was no unnecessary addition of her having a job connected to mystery-solving. There was no no no no good reason for the previous narrator to be a writer at all. Here, the situation itself is created from her being a writer, so it makes sense. I also have a real problem with writers who have barely yet been writers (first book) making their character a writer. Like, act like you’ve been there before.
The huge caveat I have is: if you are a British writer writing a mystery novel with The Girl in…. as your title, don’t make a major plot point in your novel have the EXACT SAME QUIRK AS ANOTHER RECENT AND MORE FAMOUS BRITISH MYSTERY NOVEL WITH THE TITLE THE GIRL ON THE BLANK WHICH WAS ALSO MADE INTO A BIG MOVIE!!!
Seriously that’s slippy writing and poor editing to allow that to happen. And, worst! It’s not even necessary to the plot! She has depression and takes pills! Perfect! Use that. She hasn’t been sleeping because of recent trauma! Perfect Use that. She can have some drinks but don’t make people seeing her be a sloppy drunk be a plot point and create self-doubt. She’s on a boat….use sea-sickness.