The Detective’s Daughter by Lesley Thomson
Stella Darnell is meticulous. As owner of the cleaning company, “Clean Slate”, she has to be. The reader soon realizes that this isn’t the only reason for her obsessive cleanliness. After all she still has the plastic cover on her living room furniture, doesn’t vary her daily schedule one iota, and keeps her watch three minutes fast (something her father, retired CS Terry Darnell, always did). She’s hard on herself – harder than on anyone else. Is it because of having an absent father during her childhood? A father who was so consumed with work that he didn’t first see his new daughter until two days after her birth?
When Stella begins clearing out Terry’s house after his sudden death, she comes across confidential case files relating to the unsolved murder of Kate Rokesmith. It was a case that consumed Terry during Stella’s childhood and continued to do so right up until his death.
Meanwhile, “Clean Slate” is taking on more clients and Stella needs to recruit new cleaners. When Jack Harmon comes on board, she realizes that he’s the best cleaner that she’s ever had even given his odd behaviour. As these two mismatched people begin working together they take on more than they ever bargained for.
I liked the premise of this mystery and it was a fairly compelling read. The switching between past and present during the first part of the book was confusing at times and I found myself re-reading pages just to figure out where I was in the story. This technique is a common one and usually better managed than it is in this novel.