Wednesday 22 March 2023

Guest Review: The Lost Notebook by Louise Douglas

It’s summer and holidaymakers are flocking to the idyllic Brittany coast. But when first an old traveller woman dies in suspicious circumstances, and then a campaign of hate seemingly drives another victim to take his own life, events take a very dark turn.

Mila Shepherd has come to France to look after her niece, Ani, following the accident in which both Ani’s parents were lost at sea. Mila has moved into their family holiday home, as well as taken her sister Sophie’s place in an agency which specialises in tracking down missing people, until new recruit Carter Jackson starts.

It’s clear that malevolent forces are at work in Morranez, but the local police are choosing to look the other way. Only Mila and Carter can uncover the truth about what’s really going on in this beautiful, but mysterious place before anyone else suffers. But someone is desperate to protect a terrible truth, at any cost…

Review: This is my first book from this author. I was drawn to the story as it sounded to be a bit of a mystery and a little different from my usual reads. The plot grabbed me from the very start and I enjoyed to trip to Brittany and trying to solve the puzzle within the book’s pages.

The story concerns Lila Shepherd, who has moved temporarily to the lovely seaside town of Morranez to look after her niece Ani following the tragic death of her sister and brother-in-law. All is not as peaceful as expected in the popular tourist destination. First of all, a traveller woman dies in her caravan under suspicious circumstances, some of her belongings having disappeared at the same time. Then an academic is hounded apparently to take his own life. Having failed to convince the police that anything is wrong, Lila, who is working at her stepmother’s agency that specialises in tracing lost individuals, joins forces with new colleague Carter Jackson to try and discover what really happened to these two victims. They put themselves into severe danger in the process, and what they eventually uncover is truly shocking. 

I very much enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery. I wasn’t sure that I liked Lila at the start, but she soon grew on me, especially as it became clear that she was really committed to doing the best for the niece who had suddenly become her responsibility. The little down of Morranez sounds a fabulous place to spend a holiday but the proximity of the sea must have been difficult for the family after the tragic end of Lila’s sister. I liked the idea that all through the story Lila communicated with her deceased sister about all sorts of things, sometimes receiving unwelcome advice. I was unsure about Carter Jackson, who suddenly appeared on the scene claiming to have a background in investigation; I felt that there was maybe more to his story but that avenue was not explored. It was not until quite a way into the story that the real element of danger emerged and I became concerned for the safety of Lila and Ani in particular. I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author and hoping that their storylines can catch my imagination as well as this one has. 

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