Popsugar Reading Challenge 2021 Book 34

Prompt: A book you think your best friend would like.

My good friend from university and I often find ourselves talking books. We shared a love of Janet Evanovich and Mike Ripley when we were studying and often lent each other books. Now, as we live at different ends of the country we share recommendations on WhatsApp and phone calls. One book we talked about and that I think she would enjoy – although it’s maybe more to my taste than hers as she is drawn to fantasy more than me, is The Appeal by Janice Hallett. This was a Waterstones Book of the Month and I saved it to take on holiday with me.

What it’s about?

From Goodreads:

IN A TOWN FULL OF SECRETS
SOMEONE WAS MURDERED.
SOMEONE WENT TO PRISON.
AND EVERYONE’S A SUSPECT.
CAN YOU UNCOVER THE TRUTH?

Dear Reader,

Enclosed are documents relating to the events surrounding the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons, and the tragic death of one of its members. Another member is currently in prison for the crime. We have reason to suspect that they are innocent, and that there were far darker secrets that have yet to be revealed.

We believe that the killer has given themselves away. It’s there in writing, hidden in the emails, texts, and letters. In the events surrounding the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick, and the question of whether that money was truly being used to fund her life-saving cancer treatment. Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth? Do you dare?

What I think:

If you are a fan of true crime then you will enjoy this book!

Written as a series of documents, law students Femi and Charlotte have been asked to read everything with fresh eyes. QC Robert Tanner believes his client, whi has been convicted of murder, is actually innocent, and is looking for grounds to appeal.

The documents are centred around the Hayward and Reswick families, prominent business owners and the founder members of The Fairway Players, the local amateur dramatics group that links the suspects.

Toddler, Poppy Reswick is seriously ill and as well as trying to put on a production of All My Sons, there is fund raising appeal for Poppy’s experimental treatment.

There is a large cast of suspects, and as you read the emails, messages and transcripts of phone calls between them it becomes a very tangled web.

The documents are broken with helpful summaries that Femi and Charlotte have written and conversations between them as they pose theories and talk through possible scenarios.

The first mystery for the reader is to work out who has been convicted of murder and why. The second is then to uncover the true murder.

The voices of the characters are clear and distinct. The book touches on mental illness but this isn’t explored further as it is not the focus of the investigation.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a Cluedo style chance to investigate a crime and goes to show how some incredibly innocent behaviour can look deeply suspicious.

This is a clever spin in a murder mystery and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite being a chunky read, I was completely gripped and read well past my bedtime which is always a sign of something good.

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