I bought a copy of The Foxglove Killings off the back of a Goodreads recommendation and am so glad I did – not only is it a beautiful little hardback that will look good in the collection but it had a great story well told.
Nova lives in a small town year round – tourists invade in season – the summer kids or “cakes” as they are locally known have always had a fairly confrontational relationship with the residents – but when one of them goes missing and is later found murdered, Nova wonders just what exactly does she know about the people around her. Especially as the prime suspect appears to be her best friend Alex..
This was a great murder mystery – Tara Kelly has done some good old fashioned storytelling here and wrapped it up in a contemporary modern setting. Capturing the feel of small town life perfectly, the story twists and turns its way to an edge of the seat conclusion – and gives you everything you want in this kind of tale. Suspects galore, great depth to the characters and an inclination to scratch your head as you think you have worked it out, then change your mind, then change it back again and almost end up suspecting yourself. So in that sense its really great.
There is more to it though which is what I like to find in a good YA novel – the author explores the themes of friendships and trust with an insightful eye – looking at how relationships with those closest to us can change as we get older especially during those formative teenage years. I loved the dynamic between Nova and Alex – and the wider relationships she has with her family are well drawn and fascinating. As a character drama on top of a whodunnit it is excellent.
Jenika was probably my favourite character. Edgy, feisty, not taking any erm, rubbish, from anyone she is at times incredibly dislikeable but given her circumstances completely believable – but then on the character side they all have that certain something that gets you involved in their world and rooting for them (or wishing they would fall off a cliff) all the way through.
And hey, I did NOT guess the outcome. Nope I had no IDEA who it was that was hiding a darker side to themselves. Came as a complete surprise to me, Tara Kelly weaves an intelligent and intricate plot that hides nothing yet hides everything. Nicely done.
Happy Reading Folks!