When Mariana’s niece, Zoe, calls her after her best friend has been murdered, Mariana is on the first train to her alma mater of Cambridge. As a therapist, Mariana feels she can provide valuable insight into the investigation and immediately sets her sights on Professor Fosca as the culprit. Fosca has an eerie pull on his female students and calls his favorites The Maidens. As the killer begins to work his way through the clique, Mariana is affirmed of Fosca’s guilt and will put her own life on the line to stop him (and keep him away from her niece).
If you read Michaelides’ previous book, The Silent Patient, you’ll recognize a callback or two. I can’t tell if I liked that or not. I also can’t tell if I liked that Michaelides once again has a psychotherapist as the protagonist and utilizes Greek mythology as the backdrop to the story. Looking back, I think he could have mixed it up a bit more…but I also enjoyed the read so it’s kind of a wash. It’s a good thriller with a nice little twist at the end, but I didn’t love the superfluous creepy characters whose storylines go nowhere (assuming they were just there as a red herring). I also don’t love that everyone seems to think that a group of young girls regularly congregating in their male professor’s private rooms for lots of wine and “discussion” is normal. I know salons were a thing back in the day, especially at old institutions like this, yet I doubt such fraternization would be happening like this even at Cambridge in 2021. The fact that not one authority figure thought this was strange made the whole book seem less believable.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Pair with: Cava and an extra rare steak