A little bit eerie, unconventional characters, perceptive descriptions, authentic settings and elaborate plot twists; I give you The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon.
This novel follows Evelyn, one of Britain's first female solicitors, in the years after the first World War. Evelyn is still struggling to come to terms with the death of her younger and much beloved brother James, and her world is thrown into further disarray when Meredith arrives at her home claiming to have been James' lover and the mother of his child. Things are not straight-forward in her professional life either. Evelyn is constantly battling against the disapproval of male judges and finds herself caught up in two complicated cases.
This novel is thoroughly impressive. It deals with serious themes from shell shock and feminism to justice and truth. I see no reason why it could not end up on a course list for study purposes. Yet, it never loses the suspense and edge of mystery that keeps a reader intrigued throughout a good detective novel (which in-sorts this is).
Intelligently written, the narrative voice is quite unlike one I have read before; strong, confiding, captivating, but in no way an effortless read.
There are various twists and turns that make this a fascinating story, and leave me keen to read more of McMahon's work. If it is anything like this novel, it will be original and intelligently written. Intriguing and thought provoking.