After the thick book of the Luminaries I needed something light, and having just read Josephine Tey's book Daughter of Time I tried her other more acclaimed book. It is not as good as Daughter of Time, but the riddle is quite fascinating. In short it starts with our "hero" lawyer Robert Blair. He lives in a small sleepy town called Milford. It seems to be one of those small, beautiful country towns that we love to read about or see on telly. He is in his forties, working in the inherited law firm with history down to the last century, a little tired with his life all of a sudden. He is living with his cousin/aunt who serves him with lunch, dinner and packing his bag when he has to travel. Yes, one of those men. The book is written in 1948 so it is another time indeed.
One day he gets a phone call from a lady at the Franchise house. It is an ugly, old building in the next village. The house was recently given by inheritance to a middle aged woman and her mother who live there with small means. She is calling to ask him to come since the police is visiting and is accusing her and her mother of having kidnapped a young girl, held her prisoner and beating her up for a month! This is not really the case that he normally takes, being a civil lawyer, but the lady Marion manage to persuade him. Here is where his life is changing. Meeting the ladies he just can't imagine that they have done something like that and he is sure that it is all a misunderstanding. Furthermore, he is attracted to Marion from first site so...happy to help out!
The police is bringing the girl, whom the pair has never seen. However, she is describing the house, the attic where she were kept prisoner, the furniture etc in every detail! The police must therefore believe in the girl and a warrant is issued.
The mystery is a good one and Blair is trying a little bit of detective work with the help of a detective and a friend who is a criminal lawyer. Slowly, slowly they manage to find things to break the story of the girl. I can reveal that much because we always know that they manage in the end. The case is curious and you wonder how she could know how the house looked like. Unfortunately, this is the one question you don't get an answer to. I think I know how, but it not pursuing this question and I think this is lacking in the overall answer to the mystery.
Otherwise it is an easy read and can be something for the beach this summer! This is one of my summer reads, only the hammock was missing! It has also been filmed several times so maybe an old classic on a nice summer evening!