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Tana French. THE SECRET PLACE

Tana French and Louise Penny are, in my opinion,the two mystery writers working today who have the most sophisticated literary style.  French has even said that she wrote her first novel as literary fiction and was surprised to see it categorized and marketed as a mystery.  Also, like Penny, French’s style is so meticulous in creating atmosphere and delineating character that some readers may find the pace of action too slow for their taste.  Others will be mesmerized by her ability to evoke a place and emotion.

THE SECRET PLACE is about a murder that takes place on the grounds of an exclusive Irish girls’ school.  More specifically it is about the impact it has on a close knit group of four girls.  The setting is a bit claustrophobic: all the interviews take place within twenty-four hours and on the campus of the school.  This closeness is somewhat relieved by having alternate chapters as flashbacks from the period before the crime.

I didn’t like this book quite as much as some of French’s previous ones, but it is well worth reading.  And I suspect it will linger in my memory as long as the others have.

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