Thank you to author Eva Bernhard for providing me with a copy of Silent Sands in exchange for this honest review.
Silent Sands markets itself as an “Agnes Taylor Mystery” which implies that there will be more books to follow. Maybe not sequels but a serialized set of similar mysteries. My biggest problem with this is that Agnes is not a detective of any kind. She’s an academic professor, and not for law or crime from what I could gather. So why is she solving multiple mysteries? Even this one mystery seems odd for such a character.
Agnes and her mother Sera do not get along and have not seen each other in years. For some reason, they have decided to vacation together on a small German island. They don’t seem to have any plans of what they want to do on this island and didn’t research anything about the location before arriving.
They find themselves in the middle of a small town renewabe energy debate. The town is split on whether or not they should put up windmills. Agnes becomes engrossed in this debate. Why? I have absolutely no idea. My ideal vacation does not include getting involved in local politics.
Agnes gets involved with some activists and befriends one of them quickly. Over just a day or two this new friend is staying at their vacation home. Then the mystery finally begins and they want to solve it together.
Around page 65 there is finally a murder in Silent Sands. Agnes does not personally know the person who was murdered they just find the body on the beach. They report it, as they should, and then are treated like suspects in the case.
Well, Agnes and the team think they’re being treated like suspects and become really paranoid about it which in turn makes them antagonistic toward the detectives. From my perspective, the officers were doing their job of questioning the only witnesses just to have them be rude and witholding for no reason.
The rest of the plot of Silent Sands rests on them being suspects in the murder. There is absolutely no other reason that they would need to get involved in solving this case. Agnes and friends are in no way qualified to solve a murder mystery, and the detectives have given no indication that they are going to not solve this case, so maybe just enjoy your vacation and stay out of it.
Silent Sands is a murder mystery with thin motivations, no tension, and an unsatisfying resolution. It adds side plot mysteries that just make everything even more confusing but not more interesting.
Even throughout the mystery they spend a lot of time not trying to solve the mystery. There’s very little uncovering of clues being done, more just sitting around speculating and projecting concerns onto the police.
Mystery novels need more than a dead body. The crime itself does not make a book. The reader must be invested in the characters and the outcomes. More than anything though, a mystery needs to be solvable by the audience. People read mysteries to act as a detective themselves. When the main character doesn’t play that role how is the reader supposed to?
2/5 beaches 🏖🏖
For a similar indie mystery thriller check out Source of Deceit
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6 thoughts on “Silent Sands – Book Review”
Thank you for this review, I enjoyed it’s clear and honest analysis. I think that this might more properly have been described as a “cosy” mystery, but genre marketing nowadays tends to be very generic in the sense that it tries to make every book look mainstream.
That’s interesting. I’ve never heard that term before!
It’s not a term that I like, personally. It denotes mysteries that aim to be like those of the golden age of detective fiction, i. e. the interwar period when Agatha Christie was writing. As it happens, I bring this up in my latest review, but basically it seems to apply to mysteries that are about plot and character over sex, violence, and other “grit”.
Oh I see. I could see there being an audience for that for sure. Thanks for enlightening me!
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