cover image The Sanatorium

The Sanatorium

Sarah Pearse. Viking/Dorman, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-5932-9667-7

Pearse’s engrossing debut boasts a highly atmospheric setting. Le Sommet, originally a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients in the Swiss Alps, was abandoned for decades, until it was renovated as a luxury hotel. British police detective Elin Warner and her boyfriend, Willy Riley, come to Le Sommet at the invitation of her selfish brother, Isaac, a university lecturer in Lausanne, and his fiancée, Laure Strehl, to celebrate the couple’s engagement. The emotionally fragile Elin is on break from her job, following an intense case and the death of her mother, whose funeral Isaac was too busy to attend. When Laure goes missing the day after Elin and Willy’s arrival, Elin learns that others have disappeared from Le Sommet, long shrouded in sinister rumors about its patients’ brutal treatment. Might Isaac, whom she blames for the decades-old death of their brother, somehow be involved? The discovery of a body raises the stakes. Readers will applaud as Elin, for all her anxieties, emerges as a competent sleuth. This dark tale of family dynamics is sure to please suspense fans. Agent: Charlotte Seymour, Andrew Nurnberg Assoc. (Feb.)