The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett [9/10]

A cozy mystery rendered via emails, interviews, WhatsApps, etc., etc. The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels might seem destined to be an anodyne interlude. The plot essentials could fall flat, also: when two rival true-crime authors tackle the horrific ritual killings of five people eighteen years earlier, basing their investigations around a mysterious baby born then, hidden layers of artifice fall like dominoes. As the cliche goes, nothing about the original satanic cult case withstands scrutiny. But Janice Hallett displays consummate craft skills in bringing both the plot and the third-hand storytelling devices into a glow of character-based tension that gripped this reader for the duration of a one-sitting read. The myriad twists and turns of the investigation equally startle and remain convincing, and the author somehow manages to keep all the many strands of evidence clear in the reader’s mind. The resulting concoction of cleverness and humanity is an intoxicating brew. Consider The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels as one of those dream marriages, Agatha Christie betrothed to True Detective.

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