Traces of Red, by Scottish author Christine Campbell, is the second book of the Reluctant Detective series. It continues the story of Mirabelle and her search for her missing daughter, Summer, and mixes in with her work helping others find their missing loved ones. When Kay visits Mirabelle seeking assistance to find her missing husband, Mirabelle agrees to help even though she usually focuses on missing girls. As Mirabelle delves into Kay and her missing husband’s life, Kay’s obsession with control begins to unravel. Throw in a ‘nameless lassie’, a father looking for his daughter, and an abandoned baby, and you have a mystery that keeps you guessing (wrongly, in my case) to the end.
I read Searching For Summer, the first book of the series, last year and immediately fell under the charm of Mirabelle. She is a character I can relate to, and I think anyone could. She is flawed, compassionate, and remarkably perceptive; all rolled into one colourful package. The other characters in the story are equally well portrayed, and I found myself caring for them all; following them and hoping they all achieved what they strived for. Reading this story is like watching a rope being woven. All of the separate strands slowly twist and come together - or do they? Just when I thought I had it all worked out, I realised there was more to come; more I hadn’t considered. It’s one of those books that has you muttering, “Just one more chapter…I can fit one more in before I have to…”. The book did leave me with one question - when is the next one coming out?
I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery full of diverse and engaging characters, and has lots of twists.
My rating: 5/5
Update: I messaged Christine Campbell and she told me the next book in the series, Rusty Gold, should be out in March. Looking forward to it!
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