I was excited to receive this book in the mail with the international stamp from across the pond. The reviews so far were positive if tepid.
I found the book disappointing because I too enjoy British suspense and mystery writing for the most part (I cut my teeth on Agatha Christie when I was 9). This book has some moments of suspense but the answer was in the wind from a quarter of the way through, and the book was about three times as long as it needed to be. It's a garden variety mystery novel written by someone who doesn't want to go too near her subjects or her subject matter, so she fills in page after page with descriptive repeat after descriptive repeat. You hear again and again about the day the little girl went missing, though nothing is gained in the retelling. You hear again and again about what the rich family was like, even though it was boring information the first time. I suspect that the author is very much like that family: ignores the big issues by focusing on the little ones, to paraphrase.
There is a quantity of good insight into the angst and struggles of childhood (and adulthood, though we see this from a much greater distance in almost every case), but again the same could have been done in a LOT fewer pages. Ironically, the story COULD have been expanded in a any number of ways to make it WORTH the 330 pages. The simplest way would have been to step right up to the characters, prick them slightly, and then write about the blood and pus that came out, if you'll forgive the graphic image. Regrettably, that was never done.
Early in the read, I took the book on a fishing expedition and accidentally dropped it in the river. I was distressed because I'd just begun reading it, but could have saved myself the upset had I known the book was already all wet. One unqualified compliment I have is that the cover and the pages are made from quality stuff; though the book dried a little puffy, the cover and the pages did not stick together or suffer in any way.