Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
St. Martin's Press: 3/27/18
eBook review copy; 336 pages
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser is a highly recommended domestic mystery.
In the small town of
Yellow Springs, Ohio, a group of neighborhood women spend a Saturday
night drinking wine, baby monitors in hand, around a backyard fire pit.
This is a rare night of kid-free adult interaction for most of the women
and they all drink too much, share too much personal information, and
regret it all the next morning. But, even more shocking than their
hangovers and over-sharing, is that one of them is missing the next day.
Kristin and her twins have disappeared overnight. It appears that a few
things have been packed up, but her cell phone has been left behind,
and the three have vanished.
Kristin was in the process of divorcing her husband, Paul, an ob/gyn
doctor, who called the police after he discovered evidence that the
three had left. As the police question the neighbors, the women's
recollection of the evening is fuzzy and incomplete due to the amount of
wine they consumed. Clara, Kristin's next door neighbor, thought she
was close to her friend, but is shocked when she learns things that her
friend never shared with her. New neighbor, Izzy, didn't know Kristin
well at all and is trying not to be judgmental. She is more worried
about the private secret she shared with the women.
As the investigation unfolds, suspicion is high on Paul, who appears in
his public statement to be more interested in a potential monetary
settlement from the divorce than actually cooperating with the police
investigation. Kristin's last computer search seems to indicate she was
concerned about spousal abuse. The news vans are circling the
neighborhood, looking for a scoop. How well did the neighbors know
Kristin - or Paul?
Chapters alternate between Clara and Izzy, with excerpts from a personal
journal of an unnamed person opening chapters. You meet all the
neighbors through Clara and Izzy's interactions with them. Clara is a
wonderful character. She is deeply concerned about Kristin's
disappearance as she experienced an incident years before that has
scarred her and made her cautious and suspicious over Paul's statement
and actions. Izzy, portrayed as way-too self-absorbed for me, really
created her own drama and problems based on the big-hush-hush secret
that she shared. It was a struggle to relate to her and what she felt
The quality of the writing is good and the plot moves along evenly, not
frantically, as more information is slowly revealed. There are no huge
surprises here, but it is a well told story with a satisfying ending.
My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press.