Having recently read and enjoyed Lupton’s second novel, "Afterwards", I decided to read her debut novel.Beatrice’s younger sister, 21-year-old Tess, disappears. Beatrice rushes to London where Tess’s body is soon discovered. Her death is ruled a suicide but Bee adamantly refuses to believe this explanation; suspecting foul play, she sets out to do her own investigation. The novel is written as a long letter from Bee to Tess detailing her struggle to learn how and why Tess died. This book is a psychological thriller with a twist at the end. Though the end may come as a surprise, a cursory re-reading shows numerous clues woven throughout the narrative. There is also sufficient suspense interwoven. The number of suspects with credible motives grows, although at times Bee seems to grasp at straws in her increasing frustration with the police and desperation to find her sister’s killer.Besides providing an interesting mystery, the book also touches on issues such as genetic therapy domestic abuse, and society’s perceptions of single mothers. The book’s strongest suit, however, is characterization. I loved Kasia, Tess’s Polish friend who wants to learn English but refuses “to learn the negative words, a linguistic head-in-the-sand policy. But on the positive ones she’s forging ahead, even learning colloquialisms.” Equally appealing is Amias, Tess’s elderly landlord, who plants Tess’s favourite daffodil bulbs in the frozen ground on a dark night.Of course it is the relationship between Bee and Tess that is at the heart of the novel. The two are foils in many ways. Bee is reserved and very security-conscious while Tess was unconventional, gregarious and artistic. As Bee investigates her sister’s death, she discovers that she and Tess were more similar that she had believed. Bee also examines her relationship with her sister and though others question whether their bond was as close as she believed, she has no doubts: “[Y]ou are my sister in every fiber of my being. And that fiber is visible – two strands of DNA twisted in a double helix in every cell of my body – proving, visibly, that we are sisters. But there are other strands that link us, that wouldn’t be seen by even the strongest of electron microscopes. . . . We are conjoined by hundreds of thousands of memories that silt down into you and stop being memories and become a part of what you are.”Bee is a dynamic character; she herself admits, “But, astonishingly, I’m not broken. I’m not destroyed. Terrified witless, shaking, retching with fear, yes. But no longer insecure. Because during my search for how you died, I somehow found myself to be a different person.” The author’s gradual revealing of this growth in Bee as she persists in her search for the truth gives this book another dimension.For a quick but absorbing read, this novel is definitely worth a try.