The Devil’s Feather by Minette Walters (Knopf, 2006, 368pp.)
Connie Burns, a British war correspondent in Baghdad, retreats to an isolated, run-down rental house in the English countryside to recover after being brutalized by a ruthless mercenary. But it’s hard to focus on recuperation when she suspects that her tormenter has learned of her whereabouts, and is planning to strike again. Almost as an after-thought, Walters throws in the mystery of the rental house’s history for Connie to ponder in between her obsessive investigation of the door and window locks. The author entwines the meticulous plotting of an Agatha Christie mystery with the blistering intensity of a Patricia Cornwell thriller, resulting in a strange, experimental hybrid of slasher-film/Miss Marple intrigue that just barely manages to bind together into a so-so psychological mystery/thriller. Told through a series of e-mails, news reports, and Connie’s personal reflections, Walters sadly bungles any pretense of suspense with her sloppy layout. Deeply flawed, with some redeeming qualities lost in this poorly executed thriller.
Click on cover for image source.