Author: Amy MacKinnon
Release Date: August 12, 2008
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the back cover:
Clara Marsh is an undertaker who doesn’t believe in God. She spends her solitary life among the dead, preparing their last baths and bidding them farewell with a bouquet from her own garden. Her carefully structured life shifts when she discovers a neglected little girl, Trecie, playing in the funeral parlor, desperate for a friend.
It changes even more when Detective Mike Sullivan starts questioning her again about a body she prepared three years ago, an unidentified girl found murdered in a nearby strip of woods. Unclaimed by family, the community christened her Precious Doe. When Clara and Mike learn Trecie may be involved with the same people who killed Precious Doe, Clara must choose between the stead-fast existence of loneliness and the perils of binding one’s life to another.
When I first picked up Tethered, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A mystery, yes, but what kind of mystery?
I got my answer pretty quickly. I would venture to say that the main storyline of Tethered isn’t actually the mystery of Trecie and Precious Doe, but Clara’s self-exploration. The search for a murderer is definitely the driving force in the story and moves the plot along, but the actual focus of the book is actually Clara coming to terms with what is happening around her, as well as what has occurred in her life. It is definitely a character driven tale.
I also was fascinated by the details of an undertaker’s work. I feel like that’s one of those jobs that just gets done – we don’t put much time and effort into thinking about the people that actually do the job, and what they have to do. It is a bit graphic when the author describes embalming the body, but I normally get squeamish about that sort of thing, and it didn’t really bother me. Apparently, MacKinnon’s uncle was an undertaker, which has fascinated her since she was a child.
The mystery portion of Tethered takes a bit of a backseat, as I mentioned before. As a result, it doesn’t seem to be as fleshed out or captivating as it could be. However, MacKinnon’s writing makes up for that; it is fluid and smooth, and really draws the reader in.
I really enjoyed this debut novel and look forward to what MacKinnon will be writing in the future. I recommend this book to mystery lovers, and those who love character explorations and character driven novels.