Quiet Neighbours by Catriona McPherson – a review

I have previously read and enjoyed a couple of novels by Catriona McPherson so when this came up on netgalley I jumped at the chance to get it.

The story revolves around three main characters. There is the quiet bookshop owner Lowell who has a mysterious collection of items he keeps under lock and key. He is a loner who spends his time in the dusty unorganised rooms of his book shop. Jude is a young women who has recently lost both her parents and is running away from something. She arrives at the bookshop and is soon employed to try and tidy it up. Finally there is Eddy who turns up saying she is the daughter of Lowell from a one night stand and that she is about to give birth to his grandchild. All three are hiding secrets.

This was an intriguing story but I have to say I don’t think this was anywhere near as good as The Child Garden. The story just seemed a bit too silly for my liking. The premise was good, three lives revolving around a bookshop with the hints of murder and crime. It sounds like it would be right up my street but unfortunately something just didn’t work for me.

Partly I think it was just a bit long, obviously this may change in the final edition out in April 2016. There just seemed to be a little too many coincidences and misunderstandings. It almost felt as though there were too many stories being thrown into one novel and could have worked better if it had been a bit shorter. The writing itself is, as always with Catriona MacPherson good and it keeps you hooked with the phrases and nuances used. Equally each of the characters as separate beings were interesting and kept me turning the pages. However the interaction between the characters didn’t always seem to work. I never really had a clear sense of how old they were although we were told that Lowell was in his sixties, and that Eddy was 18 but it just didn’t really work in my mind.

The end was good in that it wrapped up all the loose stories which I like, and I did enjoy the actual narrative but I was a little disappointed. Saying that it certainly kept my interest and I was keen to find out what the secrets were. I suspect I may have been expecting more crime which coloured my view at the end.

Overall if you like well written mystery novels with interesting characters then this is definitely worth a go and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for future novels by Catriona McPherson.


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