The Doll’s House – M.J. Arlidge
The body of another young woman is discovered buried on a remote beach. But the dead girl was never reported missing – her estranged family having received regular texts from her over the years.
For DI Helen Grace it’s chilling evidence that she’s chasing a twisted monster who is clever and resourceful – a predator who’s killed before.
As Helen struggles to understand the killer’s motivation, she realises she’s in a desperate race against time…
My thanks to Penguin/Michael Joseph and Netgalley for my review copy.
M.J. Arlidge’s third DI Helen Grace novel – my introduction to the character. As there is a back story from the first two books (Eeny Meeny and Pop Goes The Weasel) that plays a significant element of The Doll’s House then I would suggest that it would be beneficial to read the books in order. However, I had not read books one and two and I still really enjoyed The Doll’s House – I just had to accept that I was reading spoilers from two books that I know I will read in the future!
In The Doll’s House we are introduced to Ruby. She wakes to find herself locked in a cellar and at the mercy of a shadowy figure who seems intent to keep her entrapped – his objective for capturing her are unclear and Ruby is left pondering her fate.
Meanwhile on a nearby beach the body of a young woman has been uncovered. She has been in the sand for some time yet her family are still receiving text messages from her. A really clever twist from the author – we are in ‘communication’ with people on a daily basis but is anyone really who we think they are? How do we know the person we are texting is actually our spouse/friend/lover or parent? Using digital communications as ‘proof of life’ shows that we start from a flawed misconception and allows a killer to fabricate a life – chilling and brilliant.
As The Doll’s House progresses we learn more about why Ruby may have been singled out and we discover how the body on the beach relates to her predicament.
DI Grace has a murder investigation to conduct, however, she finds she is facing a challenge to her position from within her own station. Police politics are a nasty business and if not everyone is pulling in the same direction will Ruby become a pawn that is sacrificed to allow someone’s career to advance?
In summary: The Doll’s House is highly recommended. A girl in peril. A body in the beach that is still ‘talking’ to her family and a lead character fighting to retain her professional credibility. For M.J. Arlidge fans this is likely to be a gripping read. If, like me, you are new to the series there is a great story here – but it would be even better if you take the time to read the first two books before entering The Doll’s House. Review score of 4/5.
About the Author
M.J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last fifteen years specializing in high-end drama production, including Torn, The Little House and, most recently, Undeniable, broadcast in spring 2015. His debut thriller, Eeny Meeny has sold to publishers around the world and was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel. The Doll’s House is the third DI Helen Grace thriller.
Follow M.J. Arlidge at @mjarlidge