This is a stunningly written thriller that portrays the relationship between two sisters. It is a very lyrical book, but the characterisation is slightly undeveloped at the beginning of the novel.
We learned about Beatrice and Tess when Tess is dead. Beatrice is then summoned to come for the funeral in the UK from the US. Beatrice’s quest to find the murderer of her sister is a bit perplexing, as we haven’t had a chance yet to get to know them. We especially don’t understand what drives Beatrice in her search her Tess’ killer.
As the book develops, we learn more about the sisters, and we form a bond with them. Both sisters are interesting characters. Beatrice is practical and has a mathematical, analytical brain worked in corporate design in the USA before Tess’s death. Upon Tess’ death, Beatrice left her job and moved to London to untangle the death of her sister. To support herself, she left her lucrative job in the USA and started to work in catering. Tess was a fine art student and had several suitors. She had an affair with one of her teachers, Emilio Codi, and she got pregnant with him. However, he was married and unwilling to leave his wife. Tess also attracted the interest of another fine art student, Simon, who is also the MP’s son. Simon used to stalk Tess, and she was his muse for his art project. Before her death, she wanted to meet Simon and stayed with him. He lied to the police about their last meeting. Tess’ unborn child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Therefore, Tess saw many doctors and undertook some paid trial in a study. Tess also saw a psychiatrist, who changed her diagnosis from depression to post-natal psychosis upon her death. There appeared to be several suspects for Tess’ murder, but the police early concluded that this was a suicide case and refused to look beyond this.
The book has well-built characters, especially the ones of the sisters, and an interesting setting, i.e. the arty London and the medical world. The plot has many exciting twists, especially in relation to the medical evidence and various characters. Simon and Emilio Codi’s lives are depicted in a convincing manner.
‘Sister’ was one of the first books that were published in the book of the psychological suspense genre, but it definitely pushed the bar high from the start, especially in terms of the quality of the writing.