When Aislinn Murray is found dead in her home, alongside a table set for a romantic dinner, it seems like a classic case of “the boyfriend did it” to Detective Antoinette Conway. But further exploration of Aislinn’s past and cryptic clues from her close friends seem to point to something more sinister, along with the nagging feeling Antoinette had met the victim before.
The core story of The Trespasser was a decently engaging mystery, with an end that I didn’t fully see coming, but didn’t feel pulled out of nowhere, if some of the details were a bit hard to believe. So as a mystery alone, it works, but overall I can’t say I enjoyed reading this. The biggest problem for me was Antoinette herself. She is the only woman on the Murder Squad, and she believes fully that almost everyone is out to get her fired, and that angry paranoia is everywhere in her voice. While addressing the difficulties of being a mixed-race woman in a male-dominated field is a very interesting part of her story, this particular approach got old very quickly, and the consistent hammering at this point just turned her into something very one-note. Her attitude comes across as a very cliche’d form of lady-cop toughness, that ended up making Antoinette less than compelling for me. I definitely don’t expect all female narrators to be likeable and perfect, but there are only so many times the lead detective can refer to the murder victim as a “stupid bitch” before I get annoyed and lose all connection to her as a narrator. I’d be interested in other Tana French stories, and maybe more Dublin Murder squad, as the core mystery here was pretty unique, but this particular narrator’s voice was way too difficult for me personally to get past.