The Scarlet Dress

51pf40lkj7l._sy346_Alice Lang rents a caravan at Severn Sands holiday park during the blistering summer of 1995. She befriends Marnie, the small caretaker’s daughter, and Will Jones who works in the grounds. He’s not the only boy attracted to the troubled, enigmatic Miss Lang, but Will becomes unnaturally possessive when she attracts the attention of wealthy park owner’s son, Guy deVillars. When Alice disappears and her dress is found by the water’s edge, it is assumed she drowned. 25 years later when the seaside town is no longer fashionable, the holiday park is sold to developers and Alice Langs bones are discovered beneath a flower bed. Will, still consumed by the death of Alice, returns to Seven Sands, determined to discover who murdered the love of his life.
This novel is enriched by a strong sense of atmosphere created by the slightly creepy, old-fashioned holiday park, and the coastal stretches of a lonely estuary form the perfect stage for a murder-mystery. Its brilliantly executed by Douglas who always uses time and place to great effect. The story unfolds through two timelines, past and present, and the cast all come under suspicion. My allegiance changed throughout: Will, the obsessed, spurned lover. The deVillars family, privileged and seemingly above reproach, and then there’s the people around Marnie, the strange little girl who’d lost her mother in shadowy circumstances and is now a mute adult preferring the company of animals. Her father, and his unexplained absence on the night Alice went missing…

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