The Mackey family is ferociously dysfunctional. Frank's efforts to untangle the mystery of Rosie's death are complicated by the fact that his sister and ex-wife have secretly been taking his daughter Holly to visit the Mackeys so she can "get to know her family" and Holly is drawn in to the family's craziness.
French continues to explore the meaning of family and the construction of memory within the mystery/thriller genre. This third novel has a more believable plot line than her two earlier works and in that sense is more enjoyable than the others. The language is not, however, as lovely as in the previous two novels (especially In the Woods)--perhaps this is an indicator of French's skill in creating different voices for the characters who narrate the novels. Perhaps we'll learn more in novel four (I'm predicting the narrator will be Detective Stephen Moran, whose dark side is as yet unrevealed to us).
She [Frank's ex-wife Olivia] looked so lovely, and so tired. Her skin was starting to turn worn and fragile, and the sickly kitchen light picked out crow's feet around her eyes. I thought of Rosie, round and firm and bloomed like ripe peaches, and how she never got the chance to be any other kind of lovely except perfect. I hoped Dermot realized just how beautiful Olivia's wrinkles were.