I love a good murder mystery and I certainly got that and a whole lot more in the novel Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton. I had read Lupton’s first novel, Sister, and thoroughly enjoyed it for the unique plotting, page turning prose and a terrific gut punching twist at the end. But I digress.
Afterwards is Lupton’s second book and I found it just as uniquely crafted as Sister but in a whole different way. Told by the disembodied spirits of a mother and daughter, victims of an arsonist, this book could go campy right away, but in the capable hands of Lupton the reader somehow manages to accept the storytellers and just get on with trying to solve the mystery.
Grace and Jenny, the mom and teenage daughter, are both in comas due to the traumatic injuries they’ve suffered in a fire at the school where Jenny is working and where Grace’s other child Adam is still a student. The reader must suspend belief when Grace and Jenny leave their bodies and find each other in the hallways of the hospital. It is through Grace’s watchful spirit that the story unfolds and we the readers get to observe as the identity of the arsonist and the motive are revealed.
I can see how some readers may feel the novel is gimmicky, but I think Lupton is such a readable author with such a fluid narrative style that I would emphatically disagree. There are so many books that I pick up that feel like drudgery to complete, but not so with Rosamund Lupton. Even though she only has two books under her belt, she is one of my favorite authors.