London fortysomethings Jamie and Clare lead a happy life, at least on the surface; they’re financially stable, Clare has a good job, they live in an expensive house in a prosperous area in London and they’re enjoying life the way wealthy people with no children do. But all is not well; Jamie is stuck in a dead-end job and Clare is getting increasingly fed up with him. When they meet young, dazzling couple Kit and Melia, they seize the opportunity to become friends, but all is not as it seems and before long, Kit has disappeared and the police are fingering Jamie as a suspect.
I think the thing that struck me most about this book is that everyone in it is an asshole. Clare is bossy and a nag, though you get where she’s coming from when you meet Jamie. She complains constantly about millennials, though she’s had plenty of handouts in her life. Jamie, for his part, seems like an uninspired and uninspiring sack of hay. Kit is a coked-up city boy, angry that life doesn’t give him what he wants and Melia is self-centered and spoiled. Honestly, they all deserve each other. The book is hardly an advertisement for life in London; most of the characters have trouble even finding a place to live that they can afford, and the ones that are lucky enough to be able to rent or buy are stuck in jaded jobs that they hate, or they mooch off others. Knowing house prices in London, this strikes me as the most realistic part of the plot.
But it does mean that the tone of the book is somewhat acerbic, because there’s nobody to root for. The mystery itself is fine for the first 75% of the book and then takes a turn that I saw coming and that frustrated me to no end. Nevertheless, the plot is generally well executed, save for a couple of smaller holes, but the author can be forgiven for that because she pulls off a somewhat implausible but fairly well-constructed mystery.
The ending of the book is bittersweet and somewhere between soothing and dissatisfying, which makes it hard for me to give a verdict here, but I did enjoy it so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, I’m not sure I’ll be returning to this author because it does leave me with a somewhat bitter aftertaste.