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I like the characters especially Ani and Mila and I love that through Mila we get to hear Sophie’s voice.

Mila goes looking for Ani one day and finds her with an old woman traveler, Gosia, and when she finds the old woman dead, she is compelled to find the woman's son Tomaz. The police think that Gosia just died but Mila is not happy with that, she intends to investigate when she finds out that Ani tells her of a book that the old woman had, it cannot be found. Inside that book are the clues as to who Gosia was and what she has written in the book may be enough to have had her murdered. I suspect we’ll hear that there’s a sequel in the works. Regardless, you’ll love this mystery set in the south of France and the unique cast of characters. This was a very slow-burner of a mystery that I found I cared less and less about. I persevered because I wanted to see how Mila’s character would change and, when some action started to happen, was keen to understand the motives driving this. However, it was largely a struggle to read this book and I found it quite disappointing overall. Gosia’s ‘notebook’ goes missing when she is found dead. Her ‘work’ was in this book, work that she had been compiling since her son, Tomas, died.How was he captured later in Amsterdam? Doing this almost as an aside after he escaped on the boat felt a bit like cheating the reader. I really struggled to get into this French mystery by Douglas. This is my second read by this author but I certainly did not connect with the narrative like I did previously. I also thought that the cover was quite misleading: it portrays a stormy, brooding narrative, despite the fact this takes place in the height of summer and there are lots of positive references to the warm weather. A notebook full of secrets, two untimely deaths – something sinister is stirring in the perfect seaside town of Morranez… An intriguing story set in France where the main character is taking care of her orphaned niece with the help of her step mum. They befriend the elderly traveller lady who lives in her wagon in the woods not far from their property when one night there is a fire at her camp. The elderly lady is found dead in her wagon and her notebook with her life’s work is missing and hereby sets off a chain of events. I love a good mystery and this one fit right in, I even liked Ani who was surly most of the time and missed her parents tremendously. If you like a good story this is one I would recommend.

Overall, an interesting read that only just held my interest. The book felt somewhat longer than it actually was. Not one of the author's best but still readable. The story takes place in France on the idyllic Brittany coast. Mila has put her life in Bristol on hold after the sudden and tragic death of her sister Sophie and travels to France to take care of her fourteen year old niece Ani. It is only for the interim, until Ani is sent to boarding school the following year and then Mila can return to her life and to police boyfriend Luke. Mila Shepherd has moved into her family home to look after her niece, whose parents Sophie and husband Charles were lost at sea.After tragic circumstances Mila Shepherd goes to France to support and look after her niece and a female cat called Berthaud (lol) At almost no point did I as a reader feel like the plot was building towards something or get any sense of increasing tension or the stakes being raised. The plot seemed to just meander slowly ith no real point. Various seemingly disconnected plot points were raised but again, without ratcheting up the suspense, there was no build-up to the climax. The next book, The Room in the Attic is due to be published in October 2021 and is a ghost story set in a Victorian asylum-turned-boarding school on Dartmoor.

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