This is my first Lucinda Riley book, and I know many book readers would be shocked at that! I literally hear some of you gasping at this revelation 🙂 Lucinda is of course the author of the much loved ‘Seven Sisters’ series. I’ve heard about the series, and after reading The Murders at Fleat House, I may just pick up the Seven Sisters books.
I was shocked to read in the beginning of the book that Lucinda had in fact passed away in 2021 🙁 This book was apparently written in 2006 and never published.
What is The Murders at Fleat House about?
The sudden death of a pupil in Fleat House at St Stephen’s – a small private boarding school in deepest Norfolk – is a shocking event that the headmaster is very keen to call a tragic accident.
But the local police cannot rule out foul play and the case prompts the return of high-flying Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter to the force. Jazz has her own private reasons for stepping away from her police career in London, but reluctantly agrees to front the investigation as a favour to her old boss.
Reunited with her loyal sergeant Alastair Miles, she enters the closed world of the school, and as Jazz begins to probe the circumstances surrounding Charlie Cavendish’s tragic death, events are soon to take another troubling turn.
Charlie is exposed as an arrogant bully, and those around him had both motive and opportunity to switch the drugs he took daily to control his epilepsy.
As staff at the school close ranks, the disappearance of young pupil Rory Millar and the death of an elderly Classics master provide Jazz with important leads, but are destined to complicate the investigation further. As snow covers the landscape and another suspect goes missing, Jazz must also confront her personal demons . . .
Then, a particularly grim discovery at the school makes this the most challenging murder investigation of her career. Because Fleat House hides secrets darker than even Jazz could ever have imagined . . .
The Murders at Fleat House starts off very cloak and dagger, immediately jumping in with the death of Charlie Cavendish. We are then introduced to numerous characters, being residents (as well as their families) and educators at the boarding school, as well as DI Jazz Hunter, the lead detective on the case. For me, the book starts off rather slowly, and I admit after 9 chapters I actually put it down. Not only did I find it to be a bit slow, but also, the amount of characters I needed to place and remember was a bit overwhelming! I wish there was a character list or chart at the beginning of the book.
Eventually I picked it up again and I am glad I did. I managed to get a grasp on the characters and their relations, and I also found the pace picking up. Lucinda drops so many red herrings, but there’s just so many that you cannot make the link initially. There’s a dead child, there’s a missing person, there’s a suicide and also the rumours of a death in the past. In addition there are relationships to explore and tie together. So there’s really A LOT happening in this book.
The story is well plotted and put together, not too dark, and I found myself really absorbed into the pages of the story. Also, I absolutely loved DI Jazz’s parents, I found them to be delightful.
The Murders at Fleat House has a Goodreads rating of 4.28 stars and I am in agreement with that rating. This is a really good mystery and at 453 pages, I felt Lucinda did a good job with the pace of the story. I did feel the last few pages dragged though and were perhaps unnecessary. That’s nitpicking though. If you enjoy a thriller that isn’t gory and twisted, but has a really good mystery within its pages, you’ll definitely enjoy The Murders at Fleat House!
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Pan Macmillan SA in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.