Therapist-turned-reluctant detective Jessica Mayhew is on the trail once again in this smart, fast-paced novel of suspense from Charlotte Williams—author of the debut The House on the Cliff—a tautly written psychological thriller that ventures deep into the recesses of the mind.
Jessica Mayhew has enough problems without getting wrapped up in her patients’ drama. Her separation from her husband doesn’t seem as amicable as she once thought, and her daughters are drifting away as fast as they’re growing up. But her new client—chic, moody, obsessive painter Elinor Powell—has a way of drawing people in and soon Jessica’s getting involved with what seems to be a most artful murder.
Elinor presents a rare professional challenge. She blames herself for keeping a valuable portrait in her studio, where her mother was killed in an unsolved robbery. An attack of claustrophobia is interfering with her work, as is her deepening paranoia about her twin sister, Isobel, and her brother-in-law, Blake, a ruthless art dealer. But when Jessica meets the entire unhappy family at the debut show of Blake’s protégé—a reclusive ex-miner producing gloomy canvases in the Black Mountains of southeast Wales—she starts to wonder whether Elinor might be on to something. Might there be more to her mother’s death? Could Blake have been involved? And just what’s going on in those lonely hills?
Set against the otherworldly Welsh countryside, Black Valley is a novel rich in character, intrigue, and harrowing dangers.