I have been a huge fan of Kate Ellis since reading her first Wesley Peterson crime novel (The Merchant's House) about 20 years ago - I won it a competition run by the publisher! I especially love the mix of past and present: DI Wesley Peterson investigates a crime in the present, which usually has a link to something his archaeologist friend is working on.
The story starts with a middle-aged couple on holiday at a caravan park found dead - suspected suicide. Then a journalist, visiting the area to write a biography of a bestselling reclusive author, goes missing. Add to that, an American millionaire anxious to prove his ancestor didn't commit murder a hundred years ago, and this is why I love Kate Ellis's books. There are so many different plot strands it is almost impossible to work out how they will come together - making it ultra-hard to guess the identity of the murderer before the end. A proper puzzle!
The Mermaid's Scream is now one of my favourite Kate Ellis books. I loved the title and the cover, I loved the way the different plot strands tied my poor brain in knots, and the way a certain theme ran through the story - making me want to slap my forehead for not spotting it earlier. A definite 'duh!' moment. There might not be any 'proper' mermaids, but there is a collection of sinister old puppets, and the method the Victorian villain used to bump off his victim was very unique!
So, thoroughly recommended to anyone who loves a murder mystery with a fiendishly clever plot. But if you are new to Kate Ellis, I would suggest starting with one of her earlier books, as there are lots of characters - the police team and the many suspects - which might be confusing.