cover image The Lake House

The Lake House

Kate Morton. Atria, $28 (512p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4932-1

Bestselling storyteller Morton (The Secret Keeper) excels in this mystery set against the gothic backdrop of 1930s England. In Cornwall, the wealthy Edevane family prepares for its annual midsummer ball at Loeanneth, their isolated estate. That night, teenager Alice Edevane is lingering near the nursery when someone kidnaps the cherished Edevane son, Theo; despite a lengthy investigation, he is never found. The story moves forward to 2003 London, where Det. Sgt. Sadie Sparrow is suspended after speaking to the media about a missing-person case, recently closed, that haunts her. Sparrow seeks refuge with her grandfather in Cornwall. On her first morning run there, she finds the now-dilapidated Loeanneth mansion deep in the woods. Curious, Sparrow peers through the windows into tumbledown rooms abandoned in haste long ago. She begins to investigate the 70-year-old Edevane case with help from the Cornwall locals, including a retired copper who was there in 1933 when Theo disappeared. Sparrow locates the now-elderly Alice, a celebrated mystery writer in London, who hands over the keys to the estate so Theo’s case can be reopened. The compelling story moves back and forth in time as Sparrow uncovers what happened to Theo in 1933 while also resolving the recent missing-person case. Morton’s plotting is impeccable, and her finely wrought characters, brought together in the end by Sparrow’s investigation, are as surprised as readers will be by the astonishing conclusion. (Oct.)