Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Two Dead Wives

Two Dead Wives by Adele Parks
12/26/23; 400 pages
MIRA Books

Two Dead Wives by Adele Parks is a highly recommended mystery.

Set during the covid lockdowns in London, DCI Clements and partner Tanner is investigating the case of missing bigamist Kylie Gillingham. She went by Leigh in her marriage to Mark Fletcher and was the mother to the couple’s two sons, Oli and Seb. In her marriage to wealthy Dutch businessman Daan Janssen, she went by the name Kai. Both husbands are suspects, although more attention is on Daan as a case could be made for his guilt. A body hasn't been found so the investigation is ongoing.

During the same time Stacie Jones is recovering from a brain tumor at her father’s house by the sea. She has severe memory loss and few memories from her life. She does have brief flashes of memories of two different men, but has no current context to understand what she is recalling. Her father is a bit of a Luddite, so she has no access to the internet and no cell phone. She does find her environment peaceful and healing even while she wants to remember more.

After what feels like a rather slow start, things begin to pick up later in the narrative. The flow of the novel would have benefited with some editing and tightening up. The lockdown is actually well used in the plot as characters look forward to Freedom Saturday so it didn't immediately elicit my ire while reading, which is a plus. It is pretty elemental to figure out Stacie's connection to the rest of the mystery, so the really compelling part of the story doesn't begin until later in the novel.

The main characters are all portrayed as multifaceted individuals and easily to distinguish from each other. They are all in a precarious situation and are dealing with varying levels of uncertainty, mourning the loss of something, and trying to figure things out and move on.

This is a sequel to the previous novel titled Woman Last Seen, alternately titled Both of You. Two Dead Wives was originally published 8/17/23 first with the title You're the One and then Just Between Us. It appears part of the mystery may be readers having to figure out the title and if they have already read the novel. Personally, I'm not a fan of changing the original title of a novel, especially multiple times for different markets.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of MIRA Books via NetGalley.

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