“Daisy in Chains” by Sharon Bolton is a psychological thriller, murder mystery and romance. Hamish Wolfe, a doctor convicted of killing three women, is helped by Maggie Rose, a well-respected author/attorney who has gotten several convicted killers out of jail on appeal.
The reader is very aware that there is much that is off-kilter about the two main characters. Maggie Rose is mysterious, and the third-person omniscient narrator shares her thoughts, her doubts, and her obsessions. The author says:
“Every copper in the land has heard of Maggie Rose: defense barrister, true-crime author, pain-in-the-police-force’s-collective-arse, but few have met her. She doesn’t do interviews, has never released a photograph.”
For a good part of the book, Wolfe, his mother, and a group of supporters beg Rose to take his case. They truly believe he is innocent of killing the three women, but the evidence was extremely convincing that he did, indeed, do the deed.
In college, Wolfe’s girlfriend was Daisy, a very overweight girl whom he loved in spite of her girth. One night she disappeared after finding out that Wolfe’s friends targeted heavy girls in order to ridicule and film them. The three murdered women, like Daisy, were very overweight.
When Rose finally does take the case, it’s obvious that she feels a personal attraction to Wolfe. It’s understandable because he is an extremely handsome man. But the reader will sense that there is more going on. There is the mysterious person Rose talks to. There are mysterious letters to Wolfe. Rose’s house is broken into.
By the end, the reader is very aware of what the mystery is and who Rose really is. But that’s not the final twist in the story. While making the reader think that the big reveal will be who Rose really is, at the end the author pulls a fiendishly clever double switch.
The story is intriguing and well written. It’s also a difficult book to put down once begun — the author includes Rose’s draft chapters for the book she is writing about Wolfe, letters from and to Wolfe, and the story itself. It’s a wonderful choice for mystery lovers and would be a great book to discuss with a book club.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Minotaur Books for review purposes.