EXCERPT: Edward Fosca was a murderer.
This was a fact. This wasn’t something Mariana knew just on an intellectual level, as an idea. Her body knew it. She felt it in her bones, along her blood, and deep within every cell.
Edward Fosca was guilty.
And yet – she couldn’t prove it, and might never prove it. This man, this monster, who had killed at least two people, might, in all likelihood, walk free.
He was so smug, so sure of himself. ‘He thinks he’s got away with it’, she thought. He thought he had won.
But he hadn’t. Not yet.
Mariana was determined to outsmart him. She had to.
She would sit up all night and remember everything that had happened. She would sit here in this small, dark room in Cambridge, and think, and work it out. She stared at the red bar of the electric heater on the wall, burning, glowing in the dark, willing herself into a kind of trance.
In her mind, she would go back to the very beginning and remember it all. Every single detail.
And she would catch him.
ABOUT ‘THE MAIDENS’: Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.
Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.
Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?
When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.
MY THOUGHTS: Where to start? At the beginning seems to be the best place:
‘Tell me tales of thy first love –
April hopes, the fools of chance;
Till the graves begin to move,
And the dead begin to dance.’
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Vision of Sin
Love. It has a lot to answer for, or rather the deeds done in the name of love do.
Love is blind – and I am sure deaf and dumb at times too.
As they say, “nothing brings people together like a tragedy.” But in The Maidens, one tragedy piles on top of another.
Mariana has lost the love of her life, Sebastian, who drowned while they were on holiday in Naxos, a Greek Island where Mariana had grown up.
Zoe, Mariana’s niece, was orphaned following the death of her parents in an accident. Mariana and Sebastian raised Zoe, and now Zoe has also lost Sebastian.
Tara is Zoe’s friend and colleague at Cambridge. Now Tara is dead, brutally murdered. And Zoe reaches out to Mariana seeking solace.
Mariana, a psychotherapist, is still struggling to come to terms with her husband’s death, and is being stalked by one of her clients. Cambridge, where Zoe is studying, is also the place where Mariana and Sebastian first met.
Bittersweet memories and murder. Or murders. Tara will not be the last of the elite group of ‘Maidens’ to be murdered. And as in Romeo and Juliet, the emotions of love and hate are the lifeblood of The Maidens. Everything that happens seems to be caused by one, the other, or both, of these two forces.
This really is a classic murder-mystery. There is a little misdirection, and a few good fat red herrings. Agatha Christie with a good dollop of Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Greek mythology thrown in. Which I didn’t mind at all. In fact, I mostly found it quite interesting.
There is a diverse cast of characters. I found Henry quite scary, Edward an enigma (a rather creepy one), and I really didn’t know what to make of Fred. Even the peripheral characters are interesting and have their own individual quirks. Between the characters, and Michaelides beautifully atmospheric settings, runs a thread of evil, of menace. The postcards are a great touch.
The plot moves on steadily, casting suspicion on multiple characters before reaching a crescendo where all is revealed. Now it seems that a lot of people were disappointed with the ending, but personally, I liked it. It certainly wasn’t what I expected, but it worked for me.
I: @alex.michaelides #orionpublishing
T: @AlexMichaelides @orionbooks
#contemporaryfiction #crime #murdermystery #psychologicalthriller #serialkillerthriller #suspense
THE AUTHOR: Alex Michaelides was born and raised in Cyprus. He has an M.A. in English literature from Trinity College, Cambridge University, and an M.A. in screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He now lives in London.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Orion Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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