By: Miranda Rijks
Via: Book Blog Tour
Publisher: Inkubator Books, 2022
Genre: Fiction: Psychological Thriller/Murder Mystery/Suspense
Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When a down-on-her-luck violinist takes a menial job for a famous composer, she gets more than she bargained for in this intense and compelling murder mystery/suspense story.
Mia Benton is a former student at the Royal College of Music in London. Desperate for a job in the aftermath of a dark secret from her recent past, Mia takes a cleaning job at the residence of composer Robin Featherstone. Recently divorced, Robin’s new wife Tamsin is 25 years his junior. Tamsin’s not exactly thrilled with the new hire, to put it mildly.
While at Stave House, Mia meets a whole cast of robust characters, including:
Pavla Whittaker, Robin’s long-time housekeeper.
Thomas, Pavla’s husband.
Tamsin. A beautiful ex-PR professional. Did she really marry the old guy for love, or is she the gold digger everyone thinks she is?
Robin’s ex-wife Claudia, who exudes all the warmth and charm of a pit viper.
Claudia’s daughter Brooke, who has the personality of a porcupine.
Claudia’s elusive son David, who’s about a half-step up from toe lint.
When Robin has a sudden stroke and winds up in the hospital, everything changes. His relationship with Tamsin becomes strained. He takes Mia under his wing. He changes his will.
Meanwhile, Mia is suddenly fired by Tamsin the Terrible. So Mia snags a gig filling in as a violinist with a tourist “gypsy jazz band” in Europe. Just before she leaves, Robin calls Mia back to Stave House and hints that he may not be long for this world.
So when Robin turns up dead at the foot of the stairs after a prickly tete-a-tete with Tamsin, Brooke and Claudia, something doesn’t add up. And Robin’s will? Well. Let’s just say that an unlikely beneficiary gets it all.
Everything goes sideways from there.
Mia keeps pointing fingers at Tamsin. Tamsin points fingers at Mia. The police keep getting called out to investigate everyone. There are plenty of suspects. Lots of motives. A bevy of opportunities for any of several characters to do Robin in. And what’s up with the Pavla’s son, Marek? And Robin’s elusive son, David?
Dual Dark Secrets
Meanwhile, Tamsin and Mia have dark secrets buried deep within their respective pasts. Clues are provided along the way, scattered like bread crumbs throughout the pages. They’re soaked with enough seasoning and spice to add flavor without giving away too much too soon.
This is a rip-roarin’ whodunit? with a Knives Out vibe to it. Also delicious characters, a lightning-quick plot, and superb writing. The action unfolds through the eyes of the two main characters, Mia and Tamsin, as they narrate the story from their respective perspectives. The internal dialogue is priceless.
Note that British-isms occur throughout the text: “Scarper.” “Biro.” “Busking.” And what the heck is a “wodge”? You can usually figure the meaning out by context, so this isn’t a big deal.
The title of the book is curious. It kind of goes “thud.” It also goes “peculiar.” Cuz this book isn’t really about “the second wife” at all.
Overall, the writing is vivid, fresh, and pungent. It’s brilliant. Absorbing. Intelligent and compelling. Indeed, this masterfully written murder mystery /suspense story will keep you turning pages until the very end. It’s one heckuva ride.
Our Rating: 3.5
About The Author
Miranda Rijks is a writer of psychological thrillers and suspense novels. She has an eclectic background ranging from law to running a garden centre. She’s been writing all of her life and has a Masters in writing. A couple of years ago she decided to ditch the business plans and press releases and now she’s living the dream, writing suspense novels full time. She lives in Sussex, England with her Dutch husband, musician daughter and black Labrador.
Miranda is the author of psychological thrillers. This will be her fourteenth novel published with Inkubator Books.
Follow her at: