The Shadow Lily

Written by Johanna Mo

Review written by Carole Tyrell

Carole Tyrrell worked in the theatre for nearly 10 years and was always fascinating by the way death and the supernatural formed many of the greatest and most enduring works. She has read crime fiction for many years and enjoys the broad range of the genre.

The Shadow Lily
Headline Publishing
RRP: £6.99
Released: August 2 2022

43-year-old Thomas Ahlstrom, thinks that he has finally sorted his life out.  After a series of temporary jobs, he has found a permanent one with a local estate agent.  He has a loving relationship with his partner, Jenny (and adores his 14-month-old son Hugo).  Thomas doesn’t want anything to go wrong now.

However, the past has a way of catching up with you when you least want it to and Lykke, the daughter he abandoned when she was Hugo’s age has made contact with him.  Jenny is not happy about this reminder of his first marriage.  And Mille, an old friend, is not going to let him give up on their clandestine and illegal activities so easily.

So, when Jenny arrives at the local train station, expecting to find Thomas and Hugo waiting for her with the car; she discovers that they are not there, so she contacts the police who then begin a search.  Detectives Hanna Duncker and her partner, Erik discover, during their inquiries that Thomas has recently been fired from his job and the existence of Lykke.

She is a troubled soul with an eating disorder and has been accused of stalking a university lecturer, Professor Roger Wasselius.   The family who owns the estate agency are also suspects. Thomas owed Hektor, the son a substantial amount of money and Selene, the daughter has confessed to having feelings for Thomas.  It was the father, Karl who fired him.

In the middle of this, Hanna is running her own private investigation into the murder for which her father was imprisoned; to find out if he was really guilty or was shielding someone. 

Ater an unknown man in a car attempts to run her down; she realises that there are those who want the truth, to remain buried.

A body is found in one of the estate agency’s properties and the police also find Thomas’s car but without Hugo.  Now the police are in a race to find the boy.  Is someone holding him or is he even alive? It’s already been seventy hours since he vanished, and time is running out….

‘The Shadow Lily’ is the second book in the Island Murders series and, although there are echoes from the first book ‘The Night Singer’, remaining a multi-faceted and multi-layered book with several ingenious red herrings to lead the reader astray. 

In the midst of the search, the detectives still have their own personal lives and pressures to deal with.  Erik’s partner and daughter, Suriya and Nila, are away in India for six weeks which has distracted him. In the meantime, Hanna, has a growing attraction to a local man, Isak. 

The main narrative takes place over most of August and is interspersed with the flashback events of the Final Day in which the reader learns of what happened to Thomas. 

The translator, Alice Menzies, deserves a mention for her sterling work on this enticing crime novel.


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