Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert (Review by Julie Ramhold)

2 min read

Rating: 5*

I tried to find something wrong with this book. I rarely give anything a 5 star rating unless I’m on Goodreads, where I can’t give partial ratings, and I loved it so much I’d read it again. But Death in the Family was so good. It took me right back to my early days of reading and rereading murder mysteries over and over to try to catch things I missed before.

I was very impressed with Wegert’s writing and pacing. I’ll go ahead and warn you that we don’t have all the questions answered at the end of the book — but this the first is a series, so that’s not surprising. We get all the answers for the main mystery, which is satisfying, but we’re also left with enough questions about Shana Merchant that I know I’ll definitely be back for book two.

Shana is a great character — she’s not perfect, she has flaws, and she’s suffered a terrible experience that she is still trying to work through. Her partner Tim seems like a small-town boy who’s never seen a “real” case, and so he seems a bit like a rookie. (Know that this isn’t a bad thing though, and the wrap-up at the end was super satisfying.)

Wegert’s characters as a whole are pretty well fleshed out. Sure, there are the stereotypical members of the rich family, but they all have nuances that honestly surprised me throughout the book. The way Wegert tells the story, dropping into flashbacks with no warning, for instance, seems like it’d be jarring, but her writing is seamless. I’d like to say this was an easy mystery to solve — as long as I’ve been reading them, I pride myself a bit on being able to figure out the culprit. But this one threw me for a loop. Wegert’s plotting and careful reveals were done in such a way that at best, I would realize something about two seconds before I read her confirmation of it. It made this book such a delight to read, as I was able to just give in and get lost in it and wait for the big reveal(s). It’s so well-crafted, and has a delightful feel of a classic Christe story involving Poirot. I can’t think of anything bad to say about this book — even though Wegert didn’t answer all the questions pertaining to Shana’s past, she did give us enough to leave us hungry and wanting more.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. I’d recommend it to any mystery lover out there.

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