Let the dead stay dead.
Clara Marsh is an undertaker. She spends her solitary life among the dead and bids them farewell with a bouquet from her own garden. But Clara’s carefully structured life shifts when she discovers a neglected little girl, Trecie, playing in the funeral parlour, desperate for a friend.
It changes even more when Detective Mike Sullivan starts questioning her again about a body she prepared three years ago, an unidentified girl found murdered in a nearby strip of woods. Unclaimed by family, the community christened her Precious Doe. When Clara and Mike learn that Trecie may be involved with the same people who killed Precious Doe, Clara must choose between her solitary but steadfast existence and the perils of binding one’s life to another.
Clara’s search for the girl pulls her into a spiralling series of events that threaten to endanger the few people Clara has grown to love – and finally brings her own tragic and long-buried past to the surface.
Delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Amy MacKinnon’s superb The Unforgotten.
It’s a slow burn, this story, with some wonderfully realised characters and an intriguing, if dark plot. Undertaker Clara looks after the dead, preparing them for their burials at the funeral parlour. She’s an interesting character is our Clara, a loner who spends most of her time with her work or her flower garden. She leads us through the story with the same care and precision that she attends to her work. We also meet Trecie, a young girl who plays in the funeral home, but who may be linked to the death of another girl, named Precious Doe, three years earlier.
It’s not an easy read in places, and deals with some very dark themes as the book progresses. But Clara is there to guide us through, taking our hand to lead the way, as she does with her charges in the mortuary under the funeral home.
The storytelling is lush with atmosphere, and I really warmed to Clara after a somewhat chilly start. It’s a book to savour, though I got through it in the course of a day, absorbed in the story.
The Unforgotten by Amy MacKinnon is published by Trapeze and is out now. Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for organising the blog tour and inviting me to take part. The tour continues tomorrow with Liz from Liz Loves Books