Laura Purcell delivers yet another morbidly captivating mystery. This oozed moodiness and spookiness so much so I was spellbound. Purcell wields mysticism in such an enthralling way. Seances, crystal balls, shadows in a dark, drafty house combined with the sinister presence of magpies and their piercing caws, culminating in an ominous setting and tone.
The Shape of Darkness shows the growth in Purcell’s writing; the book really was transportive to a time gone by. The way the characters spoke felt old. And on the point of the characters, I’d say these ones are the best balance Purcell has achieved yet. The story follows two narrators, Agnes Darken and Pearl Meers, both of whom were likeable and their perspectives felt worthwhile. I didn’t prefer one to the other (as I have done with Purcell’s other reads), although I would say toward the second half some character development of Agnes’ didn’t read very smooth. But the way these characters lives contrast and interconnect in numerous ways was so intrinsically clever… Honestly all I can really do is offer a round of applause.
I’ll also say, just for keeping track and comparisons, I’ve read all of Purcell’s books to date, and for me, The Shape of Darkness is tamer than the likes of either The Silent Companions and The Corset. It’s just as enjoyable and a great offering by Purcell, but I would say it’s lighter in horror than her previous work.
Nonetheless, Purcell writes with such magnetism. The more you read and discover the story, the more you’re sucked into it in every way. I really enjoyed the way the story was woven together for all ends to meet appropriately. One thing that’s clearer and clearer with every book is Purcell is a natural born storyteller, and The Shape of Darkness firmly cements Purcell as an auto-buy author for me. It is quite frankly a must read for lovers of this genre and murder mysteries.
Thank you kindly to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC, in exchange for this honest review.