When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette 'Bambi' Gottschalk at a dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi's world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes.
Though Bambi has no idea where her husband - or his money - might be, she suspects one woman does: his devoted young mistress, Julie. When Julie herself disappears ten years to the day that Felix disappeared, everyone assumes she's left to join her old lover - until her remains are found in a secluded wooded park.
Now, twenty-six years after Julie went missing, Roberto 'Sandy' Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web of bitterness, jealously, resentment and greed stretching over the three decades and three generations that connect these five very different women. And at the center of every woman's story is the man who, though long gone, has never been forgotten: the enigmatic Felix Brewer.
This was an excellent read and I enjoyed it very much. Although I am a fan of the mystery and suspense genre this is the first book that I have read by Laura Lippman even though she has many novels to her name.
This particular novel was gripping because of it's gradual development and disclosure of the secrets concerning the people affected by the disappearance of Felix.
What I really liked was how the story was told from the viewpoints of the different characters and I think this was an interesting technique employed by the author to ensure the reader understood the effect that Felix's disappearance had on each of them.
The characters are an interesting bunch. I found it hard to like Felix as I thought him selfish to leave his family and friends to deal with the fallout following his disappearance. At times I wanted to give Bambi a shake but admired here at the same time. I like a novel that has the ability to challenge and possibly change my opinion of characters as the story develops and that was certainly the case with this book.
The novel is loosely based on a true story and I found it to be a very satisfying read. Ms Lipmann leaves no loose ends and tidies everything up very nicely - something that I particularly like in a mystery novel.
It always excites me when I discover a new to me author who already has a significant number of novels to their name as I can luxuriate in the thought that I have many more pleasurable reads to come.
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Price (today on Amazon.co.uk): Paperback £7.99 - Kindle £2.39
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