Behind Closed Doors introduces us to a new detective – one that I hope is going to feature again and again in future books. Beatrice Stubbs came to life for me in a way few fictional characters do. She irritated me at times, but not because she wasn’t well written, quite the opposite in fact. She annoyed me in exactly the same way a close friend would. I wanted to yell at her when she did something I considered dumb, hug her when she felt down and cheer her on when she got things right. In other words, J J Marsh has created a living, breathing person with whom readers can identify.
The plot is well crafted and original. DI Stubbs has been seconded to Zurich to uncover the truth behind a series of supposed suicides, which are, in fact, carefully crafted murders – each one designed to fit the ‘crime’ for which the killer has deemed the victims guilty.
We know fairly early on who is orchestrating everything, but not how or why, and it is this need to know which keeps the reader turning pages.
Behind Closed Doors straddles the boundary between literary fiction and crime writing, but it sits comfortably in both camps. It is, quite simply, a very well constructed crime novel written by an author in total control of her material.
I can’t wait for the next Beatrice Stubbs novel. My only concern is that the author has set the bar so high this is going to be a hard act to follow.