MYSTERY

The Mother-in-Law

St. Martin's. Apr. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781250120922. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250120946. SUSPENSE
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Fine is not the VERDICT Lucy is hoping for when she overhears her future husband ask his mother, Diana, what she thinks of Lucy. Motherless herself, Lucy had been hoping for a warm relationship with Diana; her hopes are worse than dashed when she instead gains a mother-in-law who is cold and controlling. Known only to the reader is that Diana underwent a trauma that left her emotionally unable to function with others except in the most cautious way and frightened to help her children financially, even though she's rich, lest they become as vulnerable as she was. When Diana is found dead—perhaps by suicide but police mount a murder investigation anyway—the drama ramps up as family members and other characters take their turns under the microscope. Infertility issues play a large role in this Australian story and add to the tiptoeing around and agonizing that Hepworth (The Family Next Door) illustrates so well; the conversations among characters are another high point in the writing.
VERDICT This absorbing, cleverly written tale is ideal for fans of Emily Elgar's If You Knew Her. [See Prepub Alert, 10/29/18.]

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