The Maidens is a murder mystery / thriller set at Cambridge University, with the clues and plot rich in Greek mythology. I listened to this book via audiobook and it definitely raised the hairs on my arms, that’s for sure. There’s something even more eerie about listening to a book rife with psychological thrill than reading the words. The Maidens is a book centring on the psychology of its characters, particularly women who grow up with narcissistic men and psychopaths.
Star rating: 4 stars
Mariana Andros is a group therapist widow who lost her husband in a tragic accident. A year or so later and she’s still struggling with the grief. Her life is quiet with few friends, but one of her patients Henry is becoming particularly attached. When her niece, a teenager she is a guardian for, calls from Cambridge university suspecting that her best friend has been murdered, Mariana drops everything to support her, but the case is too tempting and Mariana gets drawn into a web of clues rooted in Greek mythology, involving a group of girls called The Maidens and the professor who brought them together, Edward Fosca.
I enjoyed the atmosphere of this book the most, it really did its best to create a tense, eerie version of Cambridge University where none of the characters could be trusted. Edward Fosca is Mariana’s prime suspect in the murder investigation, and with good reason. It was interesting to see the psychological changes in Mariana as the investigation progresses – we see the investigation from her point of view only which makes it difficult to read between the lines. I liked the side some of the side characters. Niece Zoe is intriguing, having lost her parents as a youngster followed by the death of her Uncle Sebastian. Physicist Fred who takes a romantic interest in Mariana also made me curious. Other side characters such as The Maidens and Edward Fosca almost try to make you dislike them.
Thrillers are hard to review with spoiling the mysteries, so I’m going to keep this review short. If you like books that have a lot of subtle psychological detail then I would recommend this one to you. The ending was both surprising and not surprising, but it didn’t take away from its impact. Overall, an interesting book that works well in audio format.