Title: Black Lake Manor
Author: Guy Morpuss
Publication Date: 8th September 2022
A locked room. A brutal murder. And a killer who can unwind time…
In the former mining town of Black Lake, there is an old story about a shipwreck with only one survivor. His descendants have a unique ability: once in their lives – and only once – they can unwind the events of the previous six hours.
More than two hundred years later, part-time police constable Ella Manning is attending a party at Black Lake Manor, the cliff-top mansion belonging to the local billionaire. When a raging storm sweeps in from the Pacific, she and several other guests find themselves trapped.
And when their host is discovered brutally murdered in his study the next morning, the door locked from the inside, they turn to her to solve the crime.
Pushing her detective skills to the limit, against the odds Ella is sure she has identified the killer… but then someone undoes time. With no memory of what she discovered before, her investigation begins again, with very different results. Which of her suspects is guilty? And is there something even more sinister she is yet to uncover?
Can she solve the mystery before time runs out… again?
I loved the original and clever Five Minds so I was really looking forward to reading Black Lake Manor and it did not disappoint. It is just and mind-bendingly fabulous as its predecessor. I’m not going to try to explain the plot because it is rather complex with multiple timelines and time-travel thrown in there too! However it is so well written and assured that the complicated aspects feel totally smooth and work perfectly for the story. Morpuss blends a rich mythology with futuristic technology that feels both crazy and yet weirdly plausible.
Black Lake Manor definitely put me in mind of a more high-octane spin on the Agatha Christie locked room formula which I got completely swept up in and couldn’t put down. The setting is atmospheric in the extreme and full of suspicious characters and red herrings. It’s the sort of book that requires a bit of concentration to keep track of the multiple threads but it is such an enjoyable and exciting read that it never once feels like work. Thrilling, smart and deftly original – I highly recommend Black Lake Manor to anyone who enjoys classic crime and speculative fiction, or indeed anyone just looking for an exhilarating read!
Thank you to Angana and Viper for having me on the tour and kindly providing a copy of the book. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
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