When her mom calls to tell her that Tess, her younger sister, is missing, Bee returns home to London on the first flight. She expects to find Tess and give her the usual lecture, the bossy big sister scolding her flighty baby sister for taking off without letting anyone know her plans. Tess has always been a free spirit, an artist who takes risks, while conservative Bee couldn’t be more different. Bee is used to watching out for her wayward sibling and is fiercely protective of Tess (and has always been a little stern about her antics). But then Tess is found dead, apparently by her own hand.
Bee is certain that Tess didn’t commit suicide. Their family and the police accept the sad reality, but Bee feels sure that Tess has been murdered. Single-minded in her search for a killer, Bee moves into Tess’s apartment and throws herself headlong into her sister’s life–and all its secrets.
Though her family and the police see a grieving sister in denial, unwilling to accept the facts, Bee uncovers the affair Tess was having with a married man and the pregnancy that resulted, and her difficultly with a stalker who may have crossed the line when Tess refused his advances. Tess was also participating in an experimental medical trial that might have gone very wrong. As a determined Bee gives her statement to the lead investigator, her story reveals a predator who got away with murder–and an obsession that may cost Bee her own life.
Bee and Tess are as different as two sisters can be. Bee is a sensitive, standoffish, cultured career woman who is engaged to be married. Tess is flighty, artistic, poor and alone. But even though more than an ocean separate these two women they are very close. In letters and text messages they tell each other everything.
That is why Bee knows her sister would never take her own life, especially after watching her brother Leo die after struggling so valiantly for his own. But with no more than a gut feeling that her sister was murdered, the police will do nothing more to investigate her sister’s death. Instead they believe Bee to be grasping at straws and maybe going a little mad herself.
I admired Bee’s determination to keep unraveling the threads of her sister’s life, to keep searching for clues at the expense of her own sanity. And even though her sister was dead at the beginning of the book, I felt the author totally fleshed her out so I could relate to her personality and heart as well.
Sister is described as a domestic thriller and it is. The twists and turns in this book kept my eyes glued to the page despite the pressing chores and errands waiting to get done.
Part murder mystery, part medical ethics treatise, part a love story of family bonds, Sister is one debut book you shouldn’t pass up! 4/5 stars