I loved Jamie Mason's Three Graves Full and was delighted when NetGalley offered another opportunity to indulge in another quirky adventure by Mason.
Dee Aldritch's mother Annette was a covert operative with the CIA. Both naturally and through training, Annette had some unusual skill sets which helped her accomplish her missions and keep her alive.
On the other hand, when she was home, she was a mother devoted to her children. She did all the things a mother does to keep her kids happy and healthy, but she also went a step further. Annette played "spy games" with her kids, teaching them to be truly aware of their surroundings.
After a trip to the supermarket, on the way to the car:
..."heads up! We're playing. Five points: What was the man two places behind us in line wearing?"The games made Dee and Simon more observant and increased their short term memories. They were fun, and they were useful.
"A tan sweater," I'd say.
"Black shoes with tassels," Simon would crow.
"Five bonus points for each item in his basket you can name."
"Vanilla ice cream."
"Three cans of tuna. Do I get fifteen points for that one?"
The story opens with a prologue, a flashback to the time when Dee was thirteen and Simon eight. After a frightening event in the middle of the night, Annette abruptly left for seven months, and Dee became aware that her mother's job was dangerous and could take her away at any time. Her reaction to this episode was to seek the normal, the mundane, and when she fell in love, it was with a man who would keep her on a path that would avoid surprises.
Then came Monday's lie, and Dee found herself remembering the childhood games and re-evaluating the last few years of her marriage. The skills her mother taught her might now be necessary to save her life.
The book goes back and forth in time both in memory and in episode as Dee contemplates the complexities of her situation.
Read in Oct.; blog post scheduled for Jan. 19, 2015
Mystery. Feb. 3, 2015. print length: 304 pages.