When it comes to mystery and suspense writers, many of the greats are British: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and, my personal favorite, G.K. Chesterton with his Father Brown stories. Fiorella de Maria follows in this great tradition with her novel, See No Evil.
In terms of style, there is a lot to like about this book.
The story takes place in Post-WWII England, and the author did a masterful job creating the setting. At one point, I actually looked in the front cover to double-check that it was published in 2020, it seemed so authentic.
Catholic themes and moral questions are seamlessly woven throughout the story, but at no point does it seem preachy or heavy-handed. Non-Catholics and Catholics alike can enjoy this novel.
The most remarkable aspect of this book for me, though, was the character development. In the mystery and suspense genre, character development can take a backseat to plot and the build up of suspense. Too often, mystery novel characters are one-dimensional “good guys” or “bad guys.” De Maria skillfully balanced building suspense while creating a story where even minor characters are well-rounded.
There were one or two scenes, though, where the characters’ actions didn’t seem to fit, like when a woman, who was being antagonistic toward the protagonist standing at her door, suddenly moved aside and let him in. Scenes like this were few, though, so they didn’t detract too much from the overall enjoyment of this otherwise well-written novel.
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Copyright 2020 Monica Portogallo