Open Road Media have published a series of Bibliomysteries (Short tales about deadly books, by top mystery authors). I have read two of them so far. The first one I read and enjoyed was by Elizabeth George called “The mysterious disappearance of the reluctant book fairy“.
This one, by one of my favorite authors, Denise Mina, was a novella on a whole different level. That is to say “Top notch”.
The blurb from Open Road Media: It’s been seven years since Else visited her tiny hometown on an isolated island off the coast of Scotland. After years of suffering bullying at the hands of the few other residents, she left to make a new life. But now that her mother has passed, Else has returned. And when her old tormentor Karen Little hands her the very book that sent her running all those years ago, the cruelties of her past have Else seeing red.
With an atmospheric Scottish island setting, the story was about Else, a London actress who returns to her Scottish island home when her mother dies. She ‘escaped’ from the island when she was in her teens when she could no longer abide the way her mother ‘soldiered on’ despite the ostracization she endured at the hands of the insular islanders. Her Mum brought her up alone, she never really knew who her father was. This stigma and the fact that her Mum had killed a local man in an automobile accident, turned the island residents against her in a subliminal vendetta of hostility. Now Else, raw with grief, returns to the inhospitable place where she was born…
Although “Every seven years” is just a short novella, it is packed with more twists and turns than a book of average novel length. I read it in one sitting – but would have done if it had been 300 pages longer. It was just that absorbing. Reminiscent of the best of Ruth Rendell – or indeed Denise Mina – this tiny story will remain with me for a long time.
Highly recommended! My rating:
My favorite quote from “Every seven years: (Else describing her mother’s bibliophilia)
“She didn’t read to show off at book groups or for discussion. She never made a show of her erudition. She just liked to be lost.”
Sincere thanks to Open Road Media via NetGalley for providing me with this excellent novella!
Denise Mina has now published 12 novels and also writes short stories, plays and graphic novels. In 2014 she was inducted into the Crime Writers’ Association Hall of Fame.
She is the author of one of my favorite series: The Garnethill trilogy, the first novel of which, Garnethill, published in 1998, won the Crime Writers Association John Creasy Dagger for Best First Crime Novel.