cover image The Maidens

The Maidens

Alex Michaelides. Celadon, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-30445-2

London psychotherapist Mariana Andros, the protagonist of this stunning psychological thriller from Michaelides (The Silent Patient), suspends her patients' group therapy to rush to Cambridge University to comfort her niece, Zoe, whose best friend, Tara Hampton, has been murdered. Mariana soon focuses on the charming, handsome Edward Fosca, a Greek tragedy professor who has assembled a secret society of female students known as the Maidens that included Tara. Mariana's obsession to prove Edward guilty of murder is tinged with her all-consuming grief over the death of her husband, Sebastian, a year before, and her protectiveness of Zoe, whom she raised after the young woman's parents died. Her investigation intensifies when two more of the Maidens are murdered, but the police and Zoe dismiss her theories. The intelligent, cerebral plot finds contemporary parallels in Euripides's tragedies, Jacobean dramas such as The Duchess of Malfi, and Tennyson's poetry. The devastating ending shows just how little the troubled Mariana knows about the human psyche or herself. Michaelides is on a roll. Agent: Sam Copeland, RCW Literary. (June)