So I started off trying to write a post about books with unreliable narrators, but even that seemed to give too much away. So I’ve refined it to books with twists in them – some of which may be unreliable narrators, some may not be. And I’m not telling you which and equally I’m not telling you which book that I’ve recently read that inspired this because: spoilers. Anyway, this little lot cover a range of genres so hopefully there’s something for everyone.
Anyway, I’m going to start with an all-time classic from the Queen of Crime, which is possibly the first of its type: Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. First published nearly 100 years ago, this was controversial when it was published – and has been described as breaking the rules of the murder mystery genre. If you’ve never read it, you really should – and don’t worry, the rules it break don’t include the one where you have to find out who did it! You could also add Murder on the Orient Express, The ABC Murders and And Then There Were None to the list as well – but I’m sure if you’re hanging around here with me you’ll have read at least one of them, if not all of them.
Also in the classic novel section (although not murder mysteries), are Daphne Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca. They are varying degrees of Gothic and thrillers and both have both got under currents going on of various types. People will keep categorising both of these as romances, but do not be fooled – they are dark and creepy. They will leave you befuddled and wondering what just happened to you and how you feel about it all.
Next up Susanne Rindell’s The Other Typist. Set in 1920s New York, it’s about a young typist who works for the Police Department typing up confessions, and who is drawn into the underground world of speakeasies by a new typist who joins the pool. This came out in 2014 and was one of the most befuddling books I have read. Writing this has made me remember how much I enjoyed being perplexed – even if I didn’t love the ending, for reasons that I can’t go in to – so if I’m not careful I’ll end up buying some more of her books and adding further to the tbr pile!
Moving to something much less dark – and involving no murders – Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette features teenager Bee discovering her mother’s past life after agoraphobic Bernadette disappears after a a school fundraiser goes awry. it’s funny and unpredictable and disconcerting and engaging and there is a trip to the Antarctic!
On top of these, there are also a few books I’ve written about already that might fit the bill: lets start with two by Taylor Jenkins Reid – both Daisy Jones and the Six and Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo have more going on than meets the eye. And more recently Rachel Hawkins’ The Wife Upstairs is Jane Eyre inspired, but still surprised me (a lot) when I read it last year.