Death of a Cuckoo by Wendy Percival
Release Date: 6th March 2017
Genre: Cozy Mystery
An Esme Quentin Short Read
A letter. A photograph. A devastating truth.
When Gina Vincent receives a letter of condolence from a stranger following her mother’s death, a photograph slipped inside reveals a disturbing truth – everything she’s ever known is based on a lie. Shocked and disorientated, she engages genealogy detective Esme Quentin to help search for answers.
The trail leads to an isolated and abandoned property on the edge of Exmoor, once the home of a strict Victorian institution called The House of Mercy and its enigmatic founder, whose influence seems to linger still in the fabric of the derelict building.
As they dig deeper, Esme realises that the house itself hides a dark and chilling secret, one which must be exposed to unravel the mystery behind Gina’s past.
But someone is intent on keeping the secret hidden. Whatever it takes.
I ran down the steps and squeezed my way down the slim passage. In the recess was a narrow door but it didn’t match the faded, peeling paint of the remainder of the house’s decoration. It was brighter, as though it had been protected from the elements. As I stepped closer, I realised that’s exactly what had happened. Under my feet were pieces of broken planking. Until very recently, this doorway had been covered by a decorative panel and disguised. So who had uncovered it? It couldn’t have been there at the viewing.
What would you do if you discovered your whole life had been a lie? Quite a scary thought, but that’s exactly what happens to Gina Vincent after her mother dies. She receives a letter of condolence and an accompanying photo. This has come from a woman who claims to have been a close friend who has lost touch over the years . Comments in the letter lead Gina to check her birth certificate only to find her mother had a hysterectomy three years before she was born. Enlisting the help of genealogist Esme Quentin, the pair set out to uncover the mystery surrounding Gina’s birth and the identity of her real biological mother.
The plot is a clever one with plenty of twists and turns. The subject matter, discovering your biological mother is someone you have never known, is handled well. Gina is the main character in this story but Esme provides strong support alongside her. Although this was a bit of a departure from my usual book choice I grew to like Gina’s character and wanted to know how everything worked out. An enjoyable and engrossing read. Highly recommended.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR