Title: Deadly Slipper
Author: Michelle Wan.
Page Count/Book Type: 301. Hardback.
Almost twenty year shave passed since Canadian Bedie Dunn, a wild orchid enthusisast vanished without a trace on a hikinh holiday in southwestern France. The police long ago relegated thr unsolved mystery the the cold-case files. But Mara Dunn, Bedie’s twin, is haunted by her sister’s disappearance. Was Bedie the victim of an accident? Or did she cross paths with the wrong person at just the wrong time? Mara has come to the Dordogne determined to find the answers.
Mara gets the first break in her investigation when she unearths Bedie’s camera on a chance visit to a local junk shop. The camera still contains a roll of film with pictures of the local landscape and the orchinds that so enchated Bedie. Convinced that the photographs document her sister’s final path, Mara brings them to Julian Wood, and English expert on orchids who lives in the area and makes a desperate request: Will he help her retrace Bedie’s footsteps using the photogrpahs as a guide? Julian has his own reasons for not wanting to undertake such and impossible task, but he is fired into action when he sees the last image — the tantilizing vision of a totally unkonw Lady’s Slipper Orchid. Finding a rare, undocumented species of orchid would bring him accolades from botanists around the world. The search, however, could lead to a far grimmer discovery: It is all too possible that the flower marks a secret grave dug two decades earlier.
This is actually my mum’s book and she suggested that I read it after she brought it back from Canada last summer, so I finally got around to doing just that. I think I liked this partly because I was looking for a quick murder mystery having not read one for a while, and it just happened to hit the spot. I did enjoy it, I read it quite quickly, it’s certainly not a difficult book in terms of prose and doesn’t require a massive amount of concentration but I found it enjoyable. Mostly.
My problems with it largely come fromt he characters, sadly. I found Julian Wood completely maddening and started two conversations about the book with my mum with “Julian is an ass” to which she nodded, much to my amusement. There’s just somethign so grating about him, he’s so blase about the fact that Mara’s twin sister has been missing for nineteen years and that drove me nuts. Mara’s largely okay, I’ve already forgotten what, if anything, I found annoying about her so it can’t have been that bad. Still the plot was good, there were a couple of twists towards the end that I genuinely didn’t see coming, but I’d figured out who the culprit was pretty early on which always irritates me slightly. Disguise it better, writers! I also liked the general tone, or I guess the ‘voice’ of the book, it really did have that Frech flavour to it, and in that respect was very well and realistically written.
All in all a good read, I’m glad my mum suggested it to me.