A novel that you can "see" and "hear" is Marie Thompson's Clipton Secrets. This murder mystery centers around the character of Stella Campbell, a widow from London who moves into a polished neighborhood of Clipton St Marks but finds herself confronting her own demons and unwittingly entangled in murder and mayhem.
Clipton St Marks is the image of a quintessential English Village. It is the place that appears in your mind when you think about a peaceful sanctuary and a pleasant place to live in. Imagine magnificent mansions, quaint cottages, manicured gardens with rolling hillsides as its backdrop. It seems that nothing wrong can happen in a neighborhood like Clipton St Marks. That is why when wealthy widow, Stella Campbell happened upon a century-old rectory in the middle of Clipton, she had to turn the place into her own Shangri-la. But, as it happens, even the most well-kept cul-de-sacs keep secrets inside their pristine walls.
Just as Stella is settling down, she discovers a friend's dead body. Now her promising new beginning is turning out to be filled with unexpected twists and turns amidst the murder, blackmail, and conspiracy.
Thompson successfully creates an intriguing mystery where readers are brought along the quest for answers. The characters are written with absolute authenticity that is possible only from someone who has roots in the setting. The familiarity of the environment brought about by Thompson's writing makes the read more rousing.
This story is a compelling page-turner. The use of British spelling bothered me a bit, although it does add authenticity to the sense of place. The author's skillful descriptions transported me to a typical English village where the characters are alive and dialogue flows naturally. I was intrigued by it's many twists and turns as mystery, murder and mayhem continued throughout, and brought unexpected revelations. Clipton Secrets is Thompson's first book and received the publisher's Editor's Choice Award. If you like a good mystery, I recommend it for an absorbing summer read.
—KoKo, Amazon Readers Review
Loved the book! This is the first book of author Marie Thompson, a fellow Brit who has successfully published short stories and articles. As a first novel it holds you on the edge of your seat. The descriptions of countryside and characters were spot on. The authenticity of using English spelling made it even more enjoyable for me. Like a maze we are led down many twists and turns to arrive at revelations that lead to another pathway to finally come to the surprising conclusion. I tried hard not to read as fast as I usually do so that I could draw out coming to the end. Very much enjoyed the book, and cannot wait for the next novel to arrive from Marie!
A great book with a plot that keeps you guessing. I really liked the characters and was drawn in to the story immediately. Lovely writing!
— N A Bird
Marie Thompson is a transported Londoner living in California. She has published short stories, poetry, and essays. Clipton Secrets is her first book.