#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2022
My day fifteen #bookvent selection is one which really brings the classic treasure hunt style mystery into the heart of the twenty-first century. Not only does it look stunning from a cover perspective but what falls within the pages is completely addictive, and once I started I found it very hard to step away. I came very late to this author’s body of work, but I am loving what I am reading now and can’t wait to see what might come next as this is the second time for this author in my #bookvent countdown. My fifteenth choice is …
The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly
Summer, 2021. Nell has come home at her family’s insistence to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago, her father wrote The Golden Bones. Part picture book, part treasure hunt, Sir Frank Churcher created a fairy story about Elinore, a murdered woman whose skeleton was scattered all over England. Clues and puzzles in the pages of The Golden Bones led readers to seven sites where jewels were buried: one by one, the tiny golden bones were dug up until only Elinore’s pelvis remained hidden.
The book was a sensation. A community of treasure hunters called the Bonehunters formed, in frenzied competition, obsessed to a dangerous, murderous degree. The book made Frank a rich man. Stalked by fans who could not tell fantasy from reality, his daughter, Nell, became a recluse.
But now the Churchers must be reunited. The book is being reissued along with a new treasure hunt and a documentary crew are charting everything that follows. Nell is appalled, and terrified. During the filming, Frank finally reveals the whereabouts of the missing golden bone. And then all hell breaks loose.
Inspired by the author’s love for Masquerade, this is a taut, mesmerising novel of danger and obsession.
this book … Right from the beginning it captured my imagination and held my attention and I love a book that can do that. There is an undeniable, pulsating tension that runs throughout the story, and despite having characters who were unreliable, and often unlikable, I was completely engrossed from the start. The opening scenes are dramatic, and that kind of cliffhanger prologue had me hooked but definitely not expecting what was to follow. A mystery within a mystery, life imitating art as it were, as a treasure hunt, inspired by a very popular book about to celebrate a key anniversary, takes a very dark turn. What should be the hunt for a ‘missing’ golden bone, becomes the hunt for a possible killer, and certainly for the identity of what is very likely the victim of a murder. What this has to do with the Churchers and the Lalleys remains to be seen, and it is this mystery, and the slow unravelling of the close ties between the two families that makes up the lions share of this book. Told through multiple timelines which transition effortlessly, we learn more about the families, the book and the events which led to the present day surprises. Somehow, Erin Kelly had me completely invested in the fates of these characters, even though I didn’t particularly like them. It’s that ongoing intrigue, that sense of the unfinished and needing to get to the bottom of the mystery that kept me hooked, the constant suspense. Layer upon layer of deception and duplicity is gradually stripped away, but as the speed at which revelations occur towards the end increased, I was both shocked by the turn of events, and yet not remotely surprised. It’s one of those books that takes a long hard look at how the strong patriarchal characters within the story seek, one way or another, to constantly silence the women in their lives, but which also makes you think about how far you would go to protect family and those you love.
Textured, multi-faceted in both story and character, the pacing was perfect and the mystery maintained to the very end. Loved it.
You can read my full review right here.
Happy #bookvent reading all