Marcia’s Dead has all the ingredients of a classic murder mystery, expertly written. We start with a questionable death, add a disjointed family of characters, and stir with motives and opportunities.
The point of view is usually Ted, whose wife left him for Oscar, but married Oscar’s father instead. That is enough to mix generations, making Ted’s daughter Holly half-sister to someone her late mother’s age. Don’t worry. Laidlaw introduces each of her interesting suspects over time and you will get it all sorted out. The relationships, that is. The murderer, that is another thing for the reader to solve.
I’m peeved by murder mysteries that withhold vital clues until the end. Laidlaw does not commit that sin. Everything you need to know is shown.
As you follow Ted through this maze, Laidlaw vividly describes New Zealand, where the story takes place. The descriptions and action flow continuously and you will be surprised to near the end. It is just that compelling a read.
So, if you want a cosey murder to curl up with, I recommend Marcia’s Dead.