While I love a good suspenseful drama on TV, I’ve never really been one to pick up any type of mystery or thriller when looking for my next read. So when The Mirror Shop was presented to me as a “cozy mystery” I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I am happy to say that I was not disappointed.
In the grand scheme of things, this novel felt like a crumbling love story. Eva and Luke, together for nearly two decades, are introduced as a happy enough couple who are in a comfortable relationship. Arguably too comfortable, as they continue to live separately despite a monogamous relationship. Early on, we feel some tension in their relationship which doesn’t feel like it will amount to anything, but oh how it does! Not to mention the prologue opening with Luke confessing to a murder. Having that opening scene in mind kept my intrigue throughout the novel.
The Mirror Shop ticked off precisely the right boxes for me as a reader who prefers realistic relationship dynamics over tropes.
I was skeptical about Eva and Luke’s relationship given the vast difference between their professions, psychotherapist and mirror dealer, respectively, to begin with. But their common love for gardening and fishing really brought them together in a way I wasn’t expecting.
When talking about relationship dynamics, I especially appreciated the way Nicholas Bundock showed Eva and Luke’s most relevant friendships. Eva’s unintended patient-turned-confidante situation with Agnes was a wonderful surprise, especially since their professional relationship had been quite rocky. While at times it feels as though Luke’s friendship with his restorer Russ is more on an acquaintance level, I really appreciated the dynamic between them.
What I related to and valued the most from Bundock’s writing was the way he interjected the characters’ innermost thoughts into conversation. I am specifically reminded of a couple of scenes, one of Luke and the other of Eva, where we see a conversation playing out but are given a peek into what they are actually thinking as they are listening to their counterpart speak. Bundock sets the scene and gives us a taste of what is going on, and then offers up those deep thoughts in short and fleeting sentences. I think it’s safe to say that we have all been in some sort of situation where we feel like things are going awry and it’s hard to concentrate at the conversation or task at hand because of such thoughts.
It generally takes some time and apprehension for me to dig into a genre I am not familiar with, but that wasn’t the case for me and The Mirror Shop. I look forward to seeing what else Nicholas Bundock has in store!
I received this book in exchange for an honest review in collaboration with Amsterdam Publishers.