Broken Harbour is yet another gripping psychological mystery from one of my favourite authors. I love how Ms French can always be relied on to deliver something brilliant that is far more about people and their mentalities than it is about simply solving cases. She has a real talent for creating personalities that seem to jump off the page and Scorcher Kennedy is no exception.
Though all her novels offer an in-depth exploration of the human mind, I think Broken Harbour is perhaps the one that best explores insanity... that fine line so easily crossed in times of desperation and hardship. I questioned the mental state of almost every character I came across in this novel, all of them had some serious issues and obsessions that drove them to new extremes. Is Pat Spain an overly cautious man looking out for his family, or have their recent financial worries driven him over the edge?
But it's not just this novel's victims that seem prone to madness, there's a big question mark over Scorcher Kennedy himself and whether or not his childhood experiences at Broken Harbour are influencing his decisions on the case and making him irrational. And, of course, Scorcher's indisputably mad sister who turns up and causes havoc at the worst possible times. There's just an uncertainty hanging over everything in this novel, all the characters' motivations come under the microscope.
Once again, this is more psychology than mystery, with the murders forming the platform on which minds can be explored. It's a good job, really, seeing as the murderer is fairly easy to guess. Oddly, though, French's novels do not suffer when you discover the culprit early, I think mainly because her stories are more about the reasons why people were led to murder and the reasons why the people around them behaved the way they did. It's this psychological analysis that keeps me hooked to her books, plus my need to discover where the detectives will finally end up.
P.S. I'm still waiting to hear about Rob. I know I sound like a broken record, but can't we just get a glimpse into his life now? Please?