If you’re looking for a whodunnit mixed with the addictive spiral of rich people problems, this one is for you. It made me reminiscent of We Were Liars, but this one comes with an Agatha Christy retelling style bent. We follow Michael Linden on break from boarding school and eagerly accepting his rich roommate’s offer to vacation at his mansion. Linden is obsessed with the life of the wealthy and it’s all he dreams about achieving. But he also has a lot to hide, like a) he isn’t wealthy, in fact his mum cleans rich people’s houses, and b) the only reason he’s in a fancy boarding school is because of a sport scholarship and he’s just busted his foot and isn’t sure if he’ll ever play again.
Linden was an intriguing character for me, you can empathise with him and also ask yourself why he’s doing all these contortions just to fit into this world where wealthy people play games with money and life and nothing can touch them. He has a huge crush on his bestie’s sister, who is very enigmatic and plays the part of the manic pixie dream girl, always reading pretentious books and flirting just enough to reel Linden in but not confirm she likes him back. And then there’s a lot of family drama going on at his friend’s mansion that has to do with the neighbours and jail time and embezzlement. Linden was going to stay right out of that except…there’s an accident. A body is in the pool and they rescue the person, barely alive. Now there’s a mystery to solve and Linden must team up with his childhood estranged friend, Holiday, to dig deep into things he maaaaybe doesn’t want to find out.
It is definitely a mystery, but not actually a murder mystery as the person in the pool was still alive when they found them. Linden takes a bit more of a side-kick place, while Holiday does the investigating, which is reminiscent of the old mystery classics. It’s also a short read, which kept up the tension nicely.
A YA thriller with a classic mystery vibe, the insidious secrets of the rich, and an ending that begs for a sequel!
Thank you to Penguin Australia for the review copy!
A fresh new take on Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery The Mysterious Affair at Styles , with iconic detective Hercule Poirot recast as a brilliant, brash teen girl named Holiday, and narrated by her childhood friend Linden, an athlete-scholar who fits right in at his elite New England prep school—all the while hiding some secrets of his own.
Michael Linden—or just Linden to his preppy boarding school pals—doesn’t belong in wealthy, storied Martha’s Vineyard. But when his roommate Jasper invites him to spend the end of summer at his massive beachfront home, August House, Linden tries his best to fit in. Linden wouldn’t call it lying, exactly. Though it turns out August House is full of liars.
Then someone is found unconscious in Jasper’s pool, and everyone has something to hide—Jasper, his beautiful sister Eliza, their older brother Wells, and their friends. The accident is written off as just that—an accident—but Linden begins to wonder…
Holiday Proctor. Linden’s childhood friend, and the one person on the island who knows the truth about Linden. There’s nothing Holiday loves more than a good old-fashioned mystery and she’s convinced there’s a potential killer on the Vineyard. The only question is…who?
published May 5th, 2023