Reviews for Daisy Darker : a novel

Publishers Weekly
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Daisy Darker, the sheltered, 29-year-old narrator of this tempestuous homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None from bestseller Feeney (Rock Paper Scissors), and her dysfunctional kin—divorced parents, two older sisters, and 15-year-old niece, Trixie—rarely gather thanks to an incident nobody will discuss. Regardless, Daisy’s grandmother, Nana, maintains she’ll die this year, so the group grudgingly visits Nana’s Cornish tidal island estate on her 80th birthday. The mood sours after Nana reads her new will, which bequeaths almost everything to Trixie, but since the island’s causeway is accessible only at low tide, everyone must stay put. When Trixie finds Nana dead in the kitchen, most assume it’s an accident—never mind the macabre poem on a nearby chalkboard. Then Nana’s body vanishes, and someone murders another family member, leaving the trapped survivors distrustful and terrified. Feeney elevates a familiar setup with evocative prose, fully realized characters, and an intimate, insightful first-person narrative. Flashbacks add depth while expanding the suspect list, and twists abound. Sarah Pinborough fans, take note. Agents: Jonny Gellar and Kari Stuart, Curtis Brown. (Aug.)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Take one crumbling Victorian mansion, the only habitation on an island edged with treacherous cliffs off the Cornish coast. Fill it with warring relatives and murderous motives. Stir in a ticking clock in the form of a tide that cuts everyone off from the mainland for eight hours. Result? A sinisterly satisfying play on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, as crafted by Feeney (His & Hers, 2020). The guests (narrator Daisy Darker, her two vicious older sisters and half-sister, her niece, her divorced parents, and one long-time friend of the family) all assemble for matriarch Nana’s eightieth birthday, many of whom are attending for the purpose of not alienating Nana and, thus, being left out of her will. Nana chooses to read her spectacularly insulting and vindictive will after the party, and—no surprise to mystery readers—she is found dead the next morning. But the surprises escalate, as, one by one, the guests are murdered in ways fitting their particular vices, each accompanied by a Christie-style foreboding nursery rhyme. Readers will be intrigued by the setting, the action, and the question of whether or not they can trust narrator Daisy.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A birthday party on a remote island turns into a series of bizarre murders. “I was born with a broken heart” is how the title character and narrator of this murder mystery opens her story. Daisy is happy, however, to be celebrating the 80th birthday of her beloved nana, Beatrice Darker. Nana is a children’s author who several decades ago made a fortune on a book titled Daisy Darker’s Little Secret. Her family gathers for the birthday party at Seaglass, Beatrice’s eccentric old house on the Cornish coast, on an isolated island at the bottom of a cliff that’s only accessible at low tide. It’s a family affair: Beatrice’s son, Frank Darker, a globe-trotting classical musician who was often absent when his children were growing up; Nancy, his ex-wife and the coldly critical mother of those children; and Daisy’s two older sisters, beautiful and brainy Rose and vain and lazy Lily. Also on the island are Lily’s teenage daughter, Trixie (whose paternity is unknown), and Conor Kennedy, whom Beatrice took in when he was a neighbor boy abused by his father; he’s now a successful journalist. As the tide cuts off the house from the mainland, Beatrice serves a feast and then announces the reading of her will—a reading that makes almost everyone in the family unhappy. Then someone in the small group is found dead in a pool of blood. Soon bodies are stacking up, each killed in a strikingly personal manner, and the dwindling number of living people are frantically trying to identify the killer. (No calling for help—there’s no cell service, and Beatrice has stopped paying her landline bill.) Between the murders, Daisy fills us in on everyone’s backstory, which sometimes bogs down the suspense. If this all sounds a little like Agatha Christie’s bestseller And Then There Were None, that’s probably no accident. But this tale has a different twist ending that, despite some clever construction throughout the book, doesn’t quite convince. Murder is all in the family in this novel, but the surprise ending lacks punch. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal
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Feeney (Rock Paper Scissors) returns with another dark, twisty tale about a dysfunctional family. Daisy Darker, her siblings, and her estranged parents all gather at her grandmother's house on a tiny tidal island to celebrate Nana's 80th birthday. Nana's quirky behavior and the strained relationships within the family all conspire to create an air of unsettledness that wraps around the Darkers like the high tide that laps at the base of the house, preventing anyone from leaving. When Nana announces she's going to read her will (she's convinced her death is around the corner), tensions rise even further as family members turn on one another. At the stroke of midnight, with a storm raging outside, Nana is found dead in the kitchen. Trapped on the island with her killer, the Darkers begin to fall one by one. VERDICT Feeney's nod to Agatha Christie's classic mystery And Then There Were None adds a delightful twist to this quirky thriller. Aficionados of locked-room stories and family dramas (plus Feeney's large fan base) will enjoy this highly recommended title.—Cynthia Price


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A birthday party on a remote island turns into a series of bizarre murders.I was born with a broken heart is how the title character and narrator of this murder mystery opens her story. Daisy is happy, however, to be celebrating the 80th birthday of her beloved nana, Beatrice Darker. Nana is a childrens author who several decades ago made a fortune on a book titled Daisy Darkers Little Secret. Her family gathers for the birthday party at Seaglass, Beatrices eccentric old house on the Cornish coast, on an isolated island at the bottom of a cliff thats only accessible at low tide. Its a family affair: Beatrices son, Frank Darker, a globe-trotting classical musician who was often absent when his children were growing up; Nancy, his ex-wife and the coldly critical mother of those children; and Daisys two older sisters, beautiful and brainy Rose and vain and lazy Lily. Also on the island are Lilys teenage daughter, Trixie (whose paternity is unknown), and Conor Kennedy, whom Beatrice took in when he was a neighbor boy abused by his father; hes now a successful journalist. As the tide cuts off the house from the mainland, Beatrice serves a feast and then announces the reading of her willa reading that makes almost everyone in the family unhappy. Then someone in the small group is found dead in a pool of blood. Soon bodies are stacking up, each killed in a strikingly personal manner, and the dwindling number of living people are frantically trying to identify the killer. (No calling for helptheres no cell service, and Beatrice has stopped paying her landline bill.) Between the murders, Daisy fills us in on everyones backstory, which sometimes bogs down the suspense. If this all sounds a little like Agatha Christies bestseller And Then There Were None, thats probably no accident. But this tale has a different twist ending that, despite some clever construction throughout the book, doesnt quite convince.Murder is all in the family in this novel, but the surprise ending lacks punch. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Take one crumbling Victorian mansion, the only habitation on an island edged with treacherous cliffs off the Cornish coast. Fill it with warring relatives and murderous motives. Stir in a ticking clock in the form of a tide that cuts everyone off from the mainland for eight hours. Result? A sinisterly satisfying play on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, as crafted by Feeney (His & Hers, 2020). The guests (narrator Daisy Darker, her two vicious older sisters and half-sister, her niece, her divorced parents, and one long-time friend of the family) all assemble for matriarch Nana’s eightieth birthday, many of whom are attending for the purpose of not alienating Nana and, thus, being left out of her will. Nana chooses to read her spectacularly insulting and vindictive will after the party, and—no surprise to mystery readers—she is found dead the next morning. But the surprises escalate, as, one by one, the guests are murdered in ways fitting their particular vices, each accompanied by a Christie-style foreboding nursery rhyme. Readers will be intrigued by the setting, the action, and the question of whether or not they can trust narrator Daisy.

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