April 21, 2021

Book Beat: The Rocks by Peter Nichols

It seems like many of today’s best-sellers are set during World War II (All the Light We Cannot See, The Book Thief, The Nightingale, etc.) so I was excited to find a book set in Europe, albeit a Spanish island named Majorca with the first chapter starting in 2005.

It won’t be giving too much away to say that two characters die at the outset and the chapters go backward in time to give the backstory.  This is a death mystery in reverse.

The setting is exotic with non-Spaniards visiting for vacations and some staying permanently, intermingling with the locals. We follow the once-married Gerald Rutledge and Lulu Davenport in flashbacks, meeting their friends, family and progeny. The backwards writing technique is intriguing, but you may want to make yourself a little chart of who’s who so you don’t get too confused by the retrograde storytelling.

I had the sneaking suspicion that the story would end up back in World War II, but to my relief, the story goes back to only 1948 in post-World War II  Europe and then briefly flits back to 2005 in a satisfying conclusion. This book definitely should be read in warm weather!

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