Updated: Jan 11, 2021
The Truants- Kate Weinberg
The Thursday Murder Club- Richard Osman
Only Truth- Julie Cameron
The Truants doesn't, I think, fall squarely in the mystery genre- it's unclear whether a crime was committed and there's no police or detective- but it has mysterious characters, and some of them are taking a college class on Agatha Christie.
(BTW, I hate college discussion in books, always so snappy and insightful. Never anyone answering "uh... I read the wrong book?" I hated classroom discussions. I can't think or talk that fast.)
The book isn't really about Christie, but I think that any Christie fans would get a kick out of it, and it has been compared to The Secret History, so fans of dark stories about college kids, too.
The main character, Jess Walker, becomes fascinated with a teacher named Lorna Clay when she's given Lorna's book in her last year of high school. She goes to Lorna's school to take her classes and immediately falls in with a group of brilliant, intriguing people. She even gets to hang out with her cool teacher. But there are tensions in the group from the beginning (I mean really the beginning, no spoilers there). When things start to go wrong, Jess has to question all these relationships.
Last note: there are two covers, and the one with the horse is obviously better. In my opinion anyway.
The Thursday Murder Club. It's been a bit since I read this one. I don't remember how many people died in this (kind of alot?) but what I do remember is that it's a fairly relaxing book compared to some of the other stuff I was reading. (I'd recently given up on a book about climate change that gave me a nightmare.)
The main characters live in a beautiful place and have a great bond, and while their lives aren't perfect, the overall vibe is happy. They get together to try to solve cold cases, and when someone they know is murdered, they are just so delighted to have a real, fresh case to work on. They quip and they scheme, and they all drink tea. I liked it.
Only Truth is a rare book with an unreliable narrator that I actually like. The MC of this book, Isabel, was the victim of a crime, an attempted murder that left her with a head injury. She can't remember the incident, and it has had a lasting effect on her memory in general, her nerves, and her ability to handle change.
So, when she and her sympathetic but overbearing husband move into a house that she's never seen and it feels creepy to her, she can't know if she should trust that instinct. A frightened-looking woman is looking out of a window into the darkness, so the reader knows! Get out of there! Obviously, she stays, and it gets weirder and weirder. It really kept me guessing, and I was rooting for Isabel.
There's another story line that happens to another person at another time, and the book doesn't show for a long time if or how they are connected, so I won't tell. It almost lost me right at the beginning, because it is describing violence against a teenage girl, and I can't stand that. Monsters and ghosts, etc., I can read, but psychopaths and creeps who attack women are real and realistic violence is just not an entertaining read to me. But it isn't gory or glorifying violence, and that part doesn't last too long.
I don't read many crime novels because I think they're too sad, but Isabel really grows as a character, and it kept my interest.
Of these three, I liked The Truants the best. It's like a mystery within a mystery, and about a mystery writer.
I'm going to spend some time on general fiction, and then read Ruth Ware's latest.