Unlucky Dip by Kate Tenbeth is nothing like the Burly and Grim series she also writes. It is more for the young adult audience that begins with attempted murder.
Holly is celebrating her 15th birthday on a riverboat during a cold December night when her stepmother Sylvia chucks her over the railing into the Thames. After an intensive search, it’s feared that Holly may be dead. Some feign sadness (Sylvia) while others are devastated like Holly’s best girl friend, Georgie. As Detective Inspector Drummond takes on the case, Sylvia’s plan of an “accidental” death scheme may not be so brilliant after all.
Unbeknown to her stepmother, the detective, or the city, a young man named Jon has fished Holly out of the river and is nursing her back to health. They also don’t know that Holly has chosen to stay hidden as she pieces things together to take Sylvia down. This may not be the first time Sylvia has killed.
I enjoyed this quick read. The reader already knows the who, what, and when. We just have to follow Holly into the why and how to prove it.
Holly is a pretty resilient character. She is practical and handles her attempted murder as well as can be expected. She doesn’t go down easily and doesn’t fall apart. Jon is an enjoyable character. He keeps everything light as he and Holly delve deeper into Sylvia’s treachery. Detective Inspector Drummond is persistent and an unlikely softy when it comes to the people involved in his cases. But he is no pushover and justice will be served one way or another.
The plot is pretty transparent. Pieces are revealed to us fairly consistently. We’re just along for the ride wondering how Holly will prove any of her findings and if anyone will believe her. I thought Sylvia’s round about scheme was pointless once everything is revealed. It could have been stronger.
The ending is appropriate with only a few details that seemed far-fetched.
I recommend Unlucky Dip for a quick read with a bit of mystery and murder.