The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House

Stephanie Lam. Penguin U.K. (IPG, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-1-4059-1700-1
Castaway House, a mansion by the sea in Helmstone, England, provides the setting for Lam’s fitfully entertaining first novel. In 1965, 18-year-old Rosie Churchill has left home for the decrepit mansion, where she lives in poverty in the company of various people with their own agendas. She has a personal secret related to her curiosity about the former residents, one of whom was Robert Carver, a poor cousin of the wealthy Alexander Bray. In the summer of 1924, Robert accepts Alexander’s invitation to spend the summer at luxurious Castaway House. Despite his riches, Alexander is chronically short of funds. Nor is he in harmony with his greedy and seductive wife. The title pays homage to Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, but the only connection appears that they are both debuts. Those expecting a Poirot figure, or characters that the reader can truly care about, will be disappointed. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
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