Best Book of the Week!
Jude is in trouble, thinking of fleeing the country. But when she gets to the train station, she remembers a kind face, so on an impulse she takes a train to Glasgow. In a nearby village, she walks into Lowland Glen Books. There she is taken under the wing of the owner, Lowell Glen, and sent to his house for an exhausted rest.
Jude’s trouble involves her ex-husband Max, but we don’t learn what it is for a while. She is afraid to read the online articles about whatever happened but just sees that they have thousands of hits. Then she destroys her phone.
Jude is a library cataloger with a bit of a phobia about disorder. She finds the squalor of Lowell’s home disturbing but is pleased when he offers her the attic apartment to live in and a job helping him catalog the books in his store. She is just settling in when another orphan of the storm arrives, a pregnant Irish teenager who announces that she is Lowell’s daughter, a person Lowell didn’t know existed.
Lowell immediately accepts Eddy, but Jude is skeptical. Eddy claims that her mother, Miranda, only told her about Lowell on her death bed, but Jude thinks she is lying about something. She is also upset when Lowell lets her know that Eddy would like her apartment. Lowell has a place for Jude, though, a cottage he owns next to a graveyard.
The cottage is so isolated that Jude is happy to accept it, figuring that no one will find her there. She is also enchanted to find that the cottage once belonged to T. Jolly, someone whose brief reviews in the backs of some of the books in Lowell’s store have delighted her. She starts making a collection of his books, but the notes in the later books in his collection take on a different, more ominous tone.
With Quiet Neighbors, Catriona McPherson moves away from contemporary thrillers back toward the mystery genre. Aside from the question of why Jude is hiding, there is a mystery connected with Lowell’s “summer of love” back in the 80’s that engendered Eddy, a mystery of what Eddy’s mother Miranda told her versus the facts they can determine about the time. And then there is the mystery of T. Jolly’s notes.
There does turn out to be a murderer, and to me that person’s identity was obvious as soon as murder was suspected. But this did not interfere with my enjoyment of the novel. I loved most of the characters and the warm, unusual household that Lowell, Eddy, and Jude begin to build. I loved what McPherson does with two apparently menacing characters. I absolutely loved this novel.