Later this month, I'll be taking part in the blog tour for Thomson's latest novel, The Dog Walker, which is the fifth book in her "Detective's Daughter" series. In order to prepare, I wanted to start at the beginning of the series. This review is written with thanks to Head of Zeus for my copy of The Detective's Daughter.
In 1981, Katherine Rokesmith was murdered, She was walking with her four year old son, but otherwise there were no witnesses. Thirty years on, the case remains an unsolved mystery until Terry Darnell, the detective investigating the murder dies. When his daughter, Stella, is sorting through his property, she discovers the papers relating to Katherine's murder. Can Stella solve the case her father couldn't?
The Detective's Daughter is a very descriptive novel. This helped me to gain a sense of time and place. I found this to be particularly important, as the novel shifts regularly between locations and the past and present. My ability to picture what was happening in my mind drew me into Stella's investigation, and kept me guessing (mostly wrongly) as to what she would find.
Although The Detective's Daughter is driven by its plot, the effect of Thomson's characters on such a compelling novel must not be underestimated. Every character, even those who are not immediately likeable, has relatable traits, and this provided further intrigue, as it made it impossible to guess the ending. I found that the different narrative techniques, such as the sections of Stella's memories and the chapters set in Jonathan's boarding school gave me further insight into the characters, and presented the reader with tiny details which can then be used to piece the plot together towards the end of the novel. All the characters in the novel are connected in some way, and whilst this demonstrates the sophisticated nature of the plot (which I enjoyed) I felt that at times, the links between each character became a little too convenient.
The focus of the novel on Stella - the detective's daughter - allows Thompson to approach the mystery from a different angle, one that I have not often come across in modern fiction. As such, I found the plot innovative, and particularly enjoyed the cleverness of it. It was complex enough to create several twists (which I love) but not so complicated that I became confused, and I felt Thomson struck this balance perfectly.
I enjoyed The Detective's Daughter and look forward to seeing how the series develops.
The Detective's Daughter is available from Amazon.