Murder at the Mill: M.B. Shaw
A young child is out playing with a toy and as he comes to a river and what he finds will leave him cold and scared as a body is found but just who it belongs to is not revealed in the dramatic prologue. Iris Grey has decided to stay at Mill Cottage after a tumultuous marriage finds itself in tatters and possible divorce. The Wetherby family is very prominent and as we get to know each one-off them, we realize that there are secrets lurking within their pasts or present as Iris sees the mother being accosted by a young man named Billy, interferes and you wonder where this might lead. Dominic Wetherby is a famous and celebrated crime writer whose wife creates a special Christmas Eve party each year but as you hear the attendants that are going to frequent the gala you might say, you wonder just who really wants to be there and which guests will pump up the rivalries that bring some back to this town after many years. Dom Wehterby’s wife has asked Iris to paint a portrait of him and she hesitates at first thinking it might not be a good idea but relents and accepts the commissioner. Getting to know Dom, his son Marcus, wife Jenna and her family you realize the lack of closeness directed at the mother who seems dominant in his life but not in his wife’s. Things get interesting as we get to know each of the residents in this small town and then we learn more about Hazelford where Iris decides to take up residence on the estate of Dom and Ariadne Wetherby. Dom is about to retire, and Ariadne wants Iris to paint a portrait of him. She seems to have difficulties with the first sitting. Dom is the creator of Grimshaw a fictional character loved by U.K audiences and the fame of this series keeps him going. Things take on a strange turn when Dom seems or appears to have committed suicide sending Iris wondering about it and sends her back into the real world.
Rivalries are present as Rachel a photographer wants a huge shoot and is thrown off and is resentful since Dom had the clout and the power to get her thrown off. Revenge is in the air and she is going to act against him. Ariadne adores her son Marcus and his wife Jenna hates her, plus Billy who seems to have a hold on Ariadne as we learn at the start of the story, He seems threatening as we see when Iris stops him thinking he was going to throw her into the water.
Graham Feeny received an invitation to the Christmas Eve Party and you can hear his voice as he decides to attend but what is his real motivation? What was his relationship with Dom’s wife? Sparring with her husband Ian, we learn more about his resentment for Iris and yet she allows herself to meet with him even asking if they should go to counseling.
Things take on a different turn when they realize that Dom was murdered with chloroform and drown in the river. When his young grandson finds him his parents have to drag his body out of the water and then things turn grim and accusations are made at everyone pointing fingers at Billy his mentally ill son, Marcus who claimed to adore his father, his wife who had her own hidden flaws that only Billy knew about and Rachel Truebridge who had a secret affair with him and whose story was told one way to Jenna when she approached her and told to her by Marcus as another. Lies, betrayals, greed, deceptions and someone accusing Dom of plagiarism. Is that true? When the police finally deem his death a murder their lens form on Iris’s soon to be ex-husband as emails to Dominic are read and it appears that he might be guilty but is he? Claiming that as the creator of Grimshaw, a fictional detective, Rachel claimed he stole the idea from someone else. Marcus the astute and clever lawyer, Jenna who might be too smart for her own self, Billy often cast aside and abused by his own mother, Lorcan who has down syndrome and insists his father was killed by a ghost and Iris in the thick of it all.
When Ian McBride, Iris’s soon to be ex-husband becomes the prime suspect things turn in many directions for Iris who is now involved with Graham Feeny.
A simple portrait that encapsulates the image of a man and hides his true inner self and the world sees what’s on the outside and hides the lies and secrets hidden beneath the smile. The faces of so many seem alluring, innocent, filled with sadness at times yet hidden beneath the façade of several you will find evil, greed and the truth that will not set anyone free but will allow readers to know how and why Dominic was killed. Was the debts owed to the Russians? Was it others that he cheated? Was it someone from his past that he deceived and tossed aside?
Iris meets with someone that knew Marcus in the past and yet she learns some harsh realities in the present. Why is she going after the truth? What is it that the police cannot see right in front of them? What about her soon to be ex-husband why is she defending him to prove his innocence, yet he wants to take it all away from her and leave her with nothing?
When Iris realizes the truth behind Dom’s murder and why he was killed you would think there would be closure for everyone. But her heart told her one thing and the truth behind a killer’s plan and deception told her another and yet why was Marcus Feeny dead? Suicide or Murder? Reading his emails, you know that he was owed a certain due for his part in the series that Dom claimed he created alone. Greed, power, cover-ups and a diabolical killer, liar and murderer hiding in plain sight and condoning actions that killed someone because it would profit others. A family riddled with secrets, lies, betrayals and the final accounting would either break them permanently or weld two people’s lives back together again. What about Iris and the harsh truths she must face? As the case draws to a close and her next commission is about to begin where will life take her next and will she ever feel alive again as the author closes this novel with several surprises, many different endings in a sense and M, B. Shaw lets readers know that our amateur sleuth might be back again when she takes her next journey not know what lies in store. A portrait often speaks a thousand words and some faces hide their true meanings.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ network/MJ magazine
No comments yet.