What is it about boarding school and summer camp plots that so fascinate us? The sense of isolation from adult guidance? Young people in a confined setting that creates an alternate social setting from the wider world?
The setting of I'll Never Tell is Camp Macaw, a summer camp near Montreal owned by the MacAllister family, has a long history of generational campers who return year after year and then send their children to enjoy the same experiences.
In the present, after the death of their parents, the MacAllister offspring are gathered to hear the reading of the will. The siblings will have to decide what to do about the camp; selling would be a financial coup, but not every wants to sell. More importantly, there is a twist to the will that no one expected.
Twenty years ago, Amanda, a seventeen-year-old counselor was bludgeoned with a paddle, but no one was ever charged with crime. A contingency in the will has a requirement that involves discovering who was responsible for what happened to Amanda. Who was where when Amanda was bludgeoned? Who would have wanted to hurt her? Secrets that have been kept for twenty years slowly come to light and suspicions run high.
The timeline shifts back and forth between past and present as Ryan, Margo, Mary, Kate, Liddie, and groundskeeper Sean revisit their memories of events to determine what happened to Amanda.
At first, I didn't like any of the characters much, but as I continued to read, each character became more accessible and gradually more likable. Each secret that was kept, often from misunderstandings, shielded the guilty party. The puzzle unravels in a slow, but surprising way. A new clue or revelation, a new suspect.
I'll Never Tell is a skillful narrative that kept me engrossed and switching from one motive and suspect to another.
Read in February; blog review scheduled for May 13.
NetGalley/Lake Union Publishing
Mystery/Suspense. June 1, 2019. Print length: 380 pages.