Title: The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon
Author: Marcy McCreary
Date of Publication: September 7, 2021
Publisher: CamCat Books
In a family like that, you won’t need enemies.
In the waning days of the Catskills hotel era, Stanley and Rachel Roth, the owners of The Cuttman Hotel, were practically dynasty—third generation proprietors of a sprawling resort with a grand reputation. The glamorous and gregarious matriarch, Rachel. The cunning and successful businessman, Stan. Four beautiful children. A perfect family deserving of respect and loyalty. Or so it seemed.
Fast forward forty years. The Roths have lost their clout. When skeletal remains are found on the side of the road, the disappearance of Trudy Solomon, a coffee shop waitress at the Cuttman in 1978, is reopened. Each member of the Roth family holds a clue to the case, but getting them to admit what they know will force Detective Susan Ford to face a family she’d hoped never to see again.
The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon follows the daughter of a cop as she tries to crack a forty-year-old cold case that everyone thinks has already been solved. In 1978, Detective Susan Ford’s father investigated the disappearance of Trudy Solomon. In present day, the woman has finally been found. Trudy Solomon is safe and living in a retirement home. But she has severe dementia. She’s unable to share with the world where she’s been for almost half a century.
The main point of view comes from Susan as she investigates Trudy’s disappearance alongside her father, who is retired, but compelled to solve this one last case. We also get the occasional point of view scene from Trudy herself. These scenes are present day, but because of Trudy’s dementia, time for her is not quite so linear. Her POV snippets give the reader hints at what really happened, the nature of her relationships forty years ago, and where she went, all through the lens of a woman who doesn’t know who she is anymore. These excerpts are quite fascinating and add another dimension to the book.
Susan is a compelling protagonist. She was barely a teenager when Trudy first went missing, and her memories have been dulled by the passage of time. Susan has a wry sense of humour, which shines through in her observations of the world and the people in it. There’s one point where she compares the vagueness of a suspect’s answers to shaking a magic eight ball. “Reply hazy, try again.” She has a nice, grounding relationship with a fellow cop who she lives with, and those scenes add a sweet, almost “cozy” element to this mystery.
This novel is rich in detail, with plenty of in-depth backstory for characters and three-dimensional descriptions of setting. While this did slow down the plot, it felt like I was burrowing between the pages of the book (figuratively speaking, my advanced reader copy was electronic). The mystery itself is quite complex and is very heavy in police procedure. The investigation takes Susan and her father in some interesting and unpredictable directions. This forty-year-old cold case is far from simple.
All in all, this is an intriguing story for lovers of mysteries with intricate detail and immersive language.
*Thank you to the publisher, Edelweiss, and the author for the ebook to review*
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