Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai

Viking Adult, 352 pages, $26.95

Despite many mysterious elements, I can’t categorize this as a legitimate mystery.

Rebecca Makkai builds her story around a mansion. It may be haunted. It may be illustrious. It may be the scene of murder, abuse, fraud, and hanky-panky. She presents her book in several parts, each part going back further in time in the life of the house.

In 1999, a professor and her PhD. candidate husband move into the carriage house in back of the mansion. The professor’s mother and her current husband live in the mansion. Soon the current husband’s son and his wife also move into the carriage house. She is an artist (of dubious quality) and he has just lost $5 million dollars as a financial analyst and been fired from his job.

The professor turns out to be conniving — she could be the little sister of Amy from “Gone Girl.” Cross that with “A Comedy of Errors.” Throw in a ghost story. Throw in an artists’ colony.

Makkai is clever in the construction of the story. If you read this book, pay attention; there will be a test. I wish there had been more of a ghostly component.

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