The Facts of Life and Death by Belinda Bauer

Facts of Life This is a new author to me, discovered through the Kindle British Mystery Book Club. I must give praise for the vivid descriptive writing and the chilling psychological theme.

Couldn’t put this one down and I will certainly look for more by Bauer. The story is told through a 10-year old girl’s perspective but don’t be put off and think it’s childish dialogue. Young Ruby Trick adores her father and does what she can to please him. John Trick indulges Ruby, taking her fishing and on secret “cowboy missions.”

John Trick hasn’t worked in years, being laid off from several jobs and so he fills his days fishing, drinking Strongbow cider and running around with a local group called the Gunslingers. The Gunslingers are a group who dress like cowboys and watch American cowboy shows.

Ruby’s mother, Alison, appears to be a spoilsport in their lives yet she is only one working and her advice and intentions are meant for the good of the family. There is clear tension between her and John which doesn’t escape Ruby’s attention.  Her father fans the flames of resentment which causes Ruby to unfairly judge her mother.

Several chapters in the story takes a turn.  A young woman is kneeling on the beach, naked except for socks, shivering in the cold and with fear.  A man stands before her and directs her to call her mother.

‘Call your mother.’
‘What do I say?’
‘Say goodbye.’

Here it gets more chilling and escalates.  Everyone seems to have secrets in this book and I thought some of those secrets were not resolved. Maybe I missed something but I don’t want to give spoilers here.

Overall a very satisfying book and definitely a good fix for my British mystery cravings.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday

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