Daisy Darker is my second book by Alice Feeney. I really loved the first I read by her, Rock Paper Scissors, and although very different, Daisy Darker lived up to my expectations! A Gothic-tinged psychological thriller, it sets up the drama immediately and then throws you a curve ball at the end to make you think back over everything you’ve just read. In the best possible way.
Opening sentence: I was born with a broken heart.
A creepy Gothic setting
Set in 2004, across 30th and 31st October, Halloween is a fitting backdrop for this story. Daisy Darker is our lead character, she’s visiting her grandma, famed children’s author, Beatrice Darker, for her 80th birthday at her grandma’s epic home called Seaglass; a beautiful old, isolated building in Blacksand Bay. It is so isolated, in fact, that when the tide is high, it becomes an island.
Beatrice invites her only son and ex-daughter-in-law along with their three daughters (Daisy, Lily and Rose) and her niece, Trixie to Seaglass. Tensions are high anyway and then the arrival of Conor, a old family friend is the first in a series of events that has murderous consequences…
The cast of my family have all arrived, and once the tide is fully in, it will be eight hours until anyone will be able to leave.
An Agatha nod
As I was reading this, And Then There Were None by the Queen of Crime herself sprung to mind. It was therefore a delight to see it referred to as Beatrice’s favourite book, so a purposeful reference. Daisy Darker is a great homage to this murder mystery classic.
‘I think most murder mysteries are overrated,‘ Nana says. ‘There are much cleverer ways to end a person than killing them.‘
From the way the origins of Halloween are woven through the story, to poems that reveal secrets and condemn the actions of all family members mysteriously appearing on the kitchen wall, to bodies disappearing and a brewing storm cutting off all lines of communication with the mainland, we have quite the heady mix of suspense and intrigue.
Pity fades with age, hate is lost and found, but guilt can last a lifetime.
I read Daisy Darker on holiday (on a trip to visit my grandma, ironically) and it was just perfect for that holiday read situation – pacy, twisty and oh so entertaining. You won’t see this ending coming!
- Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC;
- Get your copy of Daisy Darker here;
- Published by Pan Macmillan 18th August 2022;
- 352 pages;
- My rating: