The premise for Harris Estate is intriguing – a young woman, Leah, finds a baby’s body in the long-disused property she’s just inherited. The last occupant apparently committed suicide and his wife disappeared. After this promising start, the novel stalls badly, the storyline shifting back and forth between a labored unfolding of the mystery and an overly sentimental account of an illicit romance between the married Leah and one of the investigating police officers.
The plotting suggests that the author couldn’t decide which of these two strands to make the focus of her story, with the inevitable result that neither works particularly well and the joint product somehow ends up less than the sum of the parts. The epilogue reveals what actually happened to the baby but, apart from minor details, this has already been laid out in the preceding chapters. The writing is what I call school-teacher English – the sentences are properly constructed and grammatically correct but lack energy, tension, and excitement. Harris Estate is best summarized as a missed opportunity – better plotting and better writing could have turned this lack-luster offering into a pulsating, suspenseful mystery…but they didn’t.
3L Publishing, LLC