So I’ve done my usual “trick” again… I’ve gone and ordered a book after seeing twitter “adverts!?” for it with quotes from newspapers saying how great it was. Did I have a clue what the book was about… nope… nada… but it just goes to show you the strength of great advertising and how I respond to quotes praising books!
When I did pick up this book, I was therefore surprised to realise it’s based on an actual historical crime.
Andrew and Abby are found brutally murdered in their own home in the middle of the day. Lizzie is traumatised after finding her father and calls for help, her stepmother; Abby, is found upstairs later by the police.
Nobody knows who killed them… and this is factually accurate. This case remains unsolved since 1892.
The story flits between character viewpoints, sometimes focussing on Lizzie; sometimes on Emma – Lizzie’s sister; the uncle – John; the maid – Bridget; and finally…. Benjamin. Schmidt introduces Benjamin as a new fictional character – a possible suspect.
From the very start, I knew there was something not quite right about Lizzie. Her mind seemed unhinged and her words felt muddled. I’d gauged her as being in her early teens but a quick google check later… and I discovered she’d been in her thirties at the time of the murders.
The plot relationship between John and Benjamin added a new development to the case and it seemed a plausible idea that could have happened.
There were a lot of plot twists in this story and the ending is similar to how events occurred in true life; Schmidt seems to have anchored the story to fact at the start and finish… and then had some fun in the middle.
I think people who enjoy plots based on unsolved crimes (perhaps fans of the Unsolved Murders podcast) will really enjoy this story, as it definitely built up the story in a way that created excitement and suspicion around a very cold case.
It’s clear Schmidt has done her research for this plot and her passion shines out from the pages.
I’m not sure if it was my cup of tea. The plot was spooky, unusual and did leave me frustrated at the ending.
Even if you don’t feel like reading this book, it’ll make you intrigued by the case… go on… have a quick google… it’s a creepy case isn’t it?
Until next time, Chloé x