Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No One You Know [Richmond]

Book: No One You Know
Author: Michelle Richmond

Review: After Ellie's older sister is murdered, her friend/college English professor betrays her friendship by writing a best selling true crime book about the crime. He boldly claims her sister's married lover was the killer, although no charges were ever filed.

Twenty years later, Ellie (who travels the world as a coffee buyer) finds herself face to face with the supposed killer. He acknowledges that he was cheating on his wife with her sister (a relationship that quickly dissolved after he was publicly branded a murderer), but they were in love. He proclaims his innocence and questions a few details in the book. Realizing she has blindly believed the book's version of events for years, she realizes her quiet, shy sister may not have been killed by this man. Ellie embarks on a journey to find her old professor, understand his motivation for the book and locate her sister's killer.

Although the title character in this novel is impacted by her sister's murder and searches for her killer, I wouldn't classify this book as a murder mystery. In fact-Ellie is able to solve the case relatively quickly (20 years after the fact) once she decides to find the truth. I won't spoil the ending here, but obviously there wasn't a big criminal mastermind at work. This book is fascinating because it explores the relationship between sisters, how a family is impacted by tragedy and most importantly, how perceived truths impact each of us.

Overall, this was a very interesting read. There was a strong math theme to this book and I foresee some people skimming those sections (Ellie's sister was a math prodigy and graduate student at Stanford working on a difficult math proof) as well as some interesting details about the business of buying coffee beans. As a non-coffee drinker myself (someone Ellie wouldn't be able to relate to!) I found the process fascinating. The pacing of the novel was slow at times.

Grade: B+

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