Reviewed by Jax Kepple
Kate Morton knows how to write a mystery, especially one involving an old manor house with secrets. The Lake House takes this classic formula, adds a contemporary mystery that Detective Sadie Sparrow is involved with and wraps everything up in a happy neat bow at the end.
Detective Sadie Sparrow went too far and got too personal on her last case and has been forced to take time off from the force. She uses this time to head up to Cornwall and visit her grandfather. While out running one day, she encounters an old manor house and after an acquaintance of her grandfather tells her that a young boy disappeared from there in 1933, she becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. Sadie has some secrets of her own, and is constantly being forced to deal with them while she tries in vain to get her job back and solve the two crimes.
Her investigation takes her to A.C. Edevane, also known as Alice, a famous mystery author who also happened to grow up in the house, Loeanneth. Alice has a multitude of secrets of her own, most involving her crush on a gypsy gardener, Benjamin Munro. Alice’s eleven-month-old brother, Theo disappeared during the Midsummer Night party at Loeanneth where her parents, Eleanor and Anthony were hostessing. There were no clues as to what happened to Theo and no physical evidence was ever found. The mystery destroyed the Edevane family and they abandoned Loeanneth for London shortly after.
Morton tells the story from everyone’s viewpoint except the family dog, Edwina. When eleven-month-old Theo was also able to tell us how he was feeling and give clues as to what happened, it was a bit ridiculous. It just didn’t work. I felt like I was just waiting for all the connections to be made and the suspense was severely lacking. Obviously everything, including how Alice’s grandmother Constance felt about hearing the crashing waves, was solved explicitly and sufficiently, and Morton quickly moved to the next issue the next character was facing. A happy ending for everything was also a little too on point, especially for little Theo. But sometimes a happy ending is what is needed. Morton write very beautifully and the story wasn’t boring.
Jax is in an accountant at a hedge fund. She resides in NYC with her husband.
Review copy was provided by Atria Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.