The Night She Disappeared

Atria. Sept. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9781982137366. $28. SUSPENSE
Tallulah and her boyfriend Zach, both 19, embark on a much-needed date night that begins at a bar in a picturesque village and migrates to a remote English country estate called The Dark Place. When they do not return home, Tallulah’s mother Kim experiences months of palpable grief even as she cares for their infant son, steadfastly believing they will return. A year later, cozy mystery author Sophie Beck and her partner Shaun move into a home on the grounds of Maypole House, a nearby school that caters to the wealthy. When Sophie encounters a sign in their yard that simply says “Dig Here,” she sets aside her writer’s block and becomes intrigued with the story of the teens’ disappearance. Befriending Kim, who never relinquishes hope, amateur investigators Sophie and Shaun reopen the cold case, revealing multiple unfolding dramas previously hidden.
VERDICT Jewell (Watching You) uses three closely aligned timelines to unpack the events leading to a soul-crushing crime; these shifts in time and points of view are mildly confusing. Plot twists are deftly incorporated while remaining highly unlikely. Yet this satisfying suspense story is rich with emotional depth and delivers a steady dose of uneasiness. For fans of Sophie Hannah.
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