The Cinderella Murder – Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any crime fiction. If truth be told, I’ve been struggling a lot for time and I’ve found it increasingly difficult to get into any of the stories I’ve been reading (since my last review I’ve tried reading four different stories and failed to complete three of them – although I will be going back to try again).

So, The Cinderella Murder represents a big step for me as this is the book that broke the trend. And what a book to do that with.

The premise of the story is simple.

A television producer who created a pilot documentary show called Under Suspicion, decides to investigate the cold, Cinderella Murder case as part of her next show. During the course of the story, we follow the producer as she attempts to convince all the key witnesses and suspects of the murder to take part in the show before finally rounding revealing who the mysterious killer was in a breathtaking and thrilling finale.

Now, for those who are interested in intricate murders, I’m afraid this may not be the story for you. The murder is quite a simple affair – we don’t have the overwhelming amount of evidence that you would usually find in a classic whodunnit story, and the crime itself is actually fairly run-of-the-mill, with nothing about it that really stands out.

But, in all other aspects, this story hits the nail on the head. The characterisation is brilliant: every character from the main lead to those with minor parts to play, are bursting with realism and good character traits – although, on occasion, some of the characters do appear rather cliched.

The pace is well judged – it doesn’t seem too rushed or drawn out.

But the thing that really makes this story is the concept itself. For the vast majority of the story, the reader isn’t subjected to the witness stories and the usual run around of who is lying about whom. In fact, the vast majority of the story is about how the producer tries to convince each person to participate in the show and their reasonings for doing so.

In my eyes, at least, this makes this story something a little bit different. Whilst the main characters are trying to solve the murder, we are also thrilled with a story of how they are attempting to make the suspects co-operate with them – something that you don’t tend to see in most whodunnit stories, at least not on this scale.

Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke have really done a great job with this story and I am certainly looking forwards to tucking into the next of the series…

But first, I think I should give those other stories a second try…

Great stuff – 5/5

The Book Review Rankings

The Cinderella Murder is not only different, but it brings something completely new to the table. It addresses an aspect of crime solving that rarely gets looked at in so much detail and the great mix of crime fiction and media drama really add to the story.

For that reason, it jumps straight in at number 3, knocking And Then There Were None out of the top 3 spot and shoving The House of Silk out of the top ten.

Here are the latest rankings:

  1. The Devil’s Detective – Simon Kurt Unsworth
  2. Time and Time Again – Ben Elton
  3. The Cinderella Murder – Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke
  4. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
  5. The Murder Bag – Tony Parsons
  6. The Woman in Black – Susan Hill
  7. The Crossing Places – Elly Griffiths
  8. The Slaughter Man – Tony Parsons
  9. You – Caroline Kepnes
  10. Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie

If you have a suggestion for books that might make my Top Ten Mystery/Crime reads, please feel free to comment below and I will see what takes my fancy…

@NickRBTingley

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