Sarah Bell

Books: Mystery | Historical | LGBT

The Murder Next Door (2021) 

The Murder Next Door (2021)

The Murder Next DoorSet in England in 1912.

Louisa is startled to discover their next door neighbor has been found dead–and the wife has disappeared with their young son.

Ada saw Mrs Pierce hurry away from the house early in the morning, with a look of terror on her face.

I found this story aggravating.

It is the authors first published novel, but is clearly the second story she has written about these characters, with constant references to how the women met, a murder they were previously involved in, earlier discussions about Louisa's lack of interest in sex, and other bits that made me feel like I was missing a lot about the characters.

Possibly especially the bits about Louisa's sexuality.

All the theories she'd gathered to try to understand her lack of sexual interest.

Their navigation of Louisa's lack of interest is mentioned in bits and asides, without us actually seeing how the two women navigate this.

There were also some rather abrupt jumps and changes. Take this bit:

Mrs Mason spoke with gentle pity, but whatever sympathy Louisa had for Miss Armstrong did not stretch that far. She was just another woman who allowed herself to be played for a fool.

Which was followed three short paragraphs later, by this.

Shame pooled in Louisa's stomach at her earlier judgement. She was lucky, after all.

It's extremely abrupt and without much in the way of clarity for that quick change.

And having the women be berated for getting involved in an earlier murder investigation–without having any of the details–was just weird. If it was that important, why not start the story there? Instead of in the middle of the early part of their relationship and at the second murder, as opposed to the first.

I felt as if there was so much potential for this story, but I spent most of my time trying to figure out what I was missing.

Rating: 5/10