Whodunit? What I saw and how I lied – Judy Blundell

As I began reading this story, I felt that I was in an old style of detective story – where someone hires the cheap inexperienced detective in smoke-filled rooms. With that tone, the tale of Evie and her family picking up the pieces in the post-war era began, reflecting a bit of shadyness, a mystery to be solved.

Evie is a young girl, struggling with the normal angst of teenage girls – is she pretty enough? why isn’t she beautiful like her mother? where does she fit into the family? how real are her friendships? Then one day, her stepfather comes home to announce that they are taking off on a spontaneous trip to Palm Beach, Florida. Their initial excitement wanes as the discomfort of their road trip from New York increases, and then when they arrive in Palm Beach, it appears holiday season is over.

In spite of this, Joe remains cheerful about their arrival, and they soon get into the holiday mode. They also meet up with some interesting characters, though some may not be quite who they pretend to be. As you read, lots of questions form in your mind – why do they stay in Palm Beach when it’s clearly not the normal tourist season? what does Joe have to hide? who is Peter interested in, and why? and, shouldn’t they take cover as hurricane season approaches?

Elements of the book were predictable, which is sometimes satisfying for the reader. But it wasn’t totally predictable, and even at the end, who did what and why, is not 100% clear. What is clear, is the strength of family relations, and the way our perceptions might be flawed at times by what we want to see…

An “elegant, detail-driven tales (that) smoothly segues into a whodunit page-turner.” quote from the blurb (Chicago Tribune).

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