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April 10, 2017

Quiet Neighbors

Quiet Neighbors

by Catriona McPherson

Quiet Neighbors has a variety of quirky characters and takes place in small town Scotland; however, it is definitely not your typical, cozy mystery novel.  The atmosphere and tone is dark and creepy, with interesting and intriguing elements, details, and plot twists.   The book opens as Jude, a librarian, is fleeing London after the sudden death of her parents, as well as a mysterious event hinted at that may have the police looking for her.  She decides to run away to a small bookstore that she visited the previous summer.  Upon her arrival, she meets Lowell Glenn, a kindly man in his sixties and the owner.  She is beyond exhaustion and he gives her the keys to his house around the corner for her to rest and recover.  Jude begins organizing the bookshop and he offers her apartment rooms in the top of his home.  Soon after, Eddy, a young pregnant woman claiming to be Lowell’s daughter shows up.  Eddy takes over Jude’s rooms and Jude moves out to a cottage that Lowell owns, which happens to be located in a cemetery.

Jude’s cottage’s previous owner was Todd Jolly, whose books she has come across in her work at the bookshop.  Jolly has left notes in the back of some of his books that intrigue Jude, and eventually they lead to a mysterious connection between deaths in the village.  The mysteries are piling up:  What is Jude’s secret?  Is Eddy really Lowell’s daughter?  What are the mysterious photos Lowell has in his locked cabinet?  What is the mystery hinted at in Todd Jolly’s books?

The mysteries slowly unravel one by one, allowing us to savor the experience.  This is a great mystery, although it does not follow the typical murder mystery format.  Instead, we have a slow unfurling of information driven by interesting characters and plot elements.  This is the type of book that the more you read, the more you like it, and by the time you finish it, you are sorry to see it end.

This book received nominations for both the Agatha Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award.

Review By:  Heidi Herald