The Maidens

Celadon. Jun. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781250304452. $27.99. SUSPENSE
Mariana is no stranger to death. She lost her young English mother to cancer and her distant older sister to an accident, and her complicated Greek father collapsed in an olive grove. The worst though was losing her husband Sebastian, just a year ago. As a psychotherapist, Mariana knows the steps of working through grief. Now death arrives again. When her devastated niece Zoe, a student, calls to say her friend Tara has been murdered, Mariana returns to the scene of the crime, the University of Cambridge and its familiar ivy-covered grounds; this was the same place she first met Sebastian. When more ritualistic deaths follow, it is clear a serial killer is targeting the Maidens, a group of nine Cambridge students who are under the tutelage of Edward Fosca, a charismatic classics professor who maintains a mesmerizing hold over the impressionable young women, including Tara. Mariana is convinced that Edward is the murderer and sets a determined course to prove it.
VERDICT Michaelides (The Silent Patient) skillfully infuses this mystery with stories of death and life from Greek mythology and motifs of darkness and light that suggest all is not as it seems; indeed, several disturbing characters cast doubt on the killer’s identity. While the tension could have been heightened, and the unforeseen conclusion tests believability, this is intriguing psychological suspense.
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