Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Julie Mahew
Bloomsbury, November 2019
432 pages
ISBN: 1635573254

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Although IMPOSSIBLE CAUSES opens with a body found, the murder itself is almost incidental to this atmospheric novel set on the fictional Lark, a remote British island that is cut off from the rest of the country—boats make the three-day trip to the fog-shrouded island only from April to August.

The story jumps back and forth through a ten-month period, as it builds up toward the murder. The elements are all in place for a tragedy: Lark is a small religious community run by the men, yet the women find their ways to rebel. That's especially true with the Eldest Girls, three sixteen-year-olds who are the oldest students at the small village school. They begin to experiment with ancient pagan rituals and flock around the new teacher, the charming young Ben Hailey. Ben has also caught the attention of fellow teacher Leah Cedars. She believes she and Ben are destined to be together—a tarot card reading has told her so.

Two other newcomers also make their way into this insular community: Deborah Kendrick and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Viola. They are escaping a tragedy on the mainland. Deborah had thought Lark would be a peaceful place to heal, but the islanders are reluctant to accept "croycrocks," or outsiders. Despite this, Viola inserts herself into the circle of the Eldest Girls and sets in motion several events herself.

The novel is billed as a thriller, but it unspools slowly. It is more like a creepy gothic novel that suddenly packs a punch at the end. Fans of psychological thrillers are likely to enjoy this novel that slowly reveals a community's secrets.

§ Lourdes Venard is an independent editor who divides her time between New York and Maui.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, January 2020

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]