This week’s Monday Mystery is by an Australian author I’ve never read before, Lorraine Campbell. This book, The Butterfly Enigma, is her third. According to her website she has written two books in a series called Resisting the Enemy. All three have to do with WWII, although the Resisting series books take place during, and The Butterfly Enigma takes place after with an introduction that gives backstory.
Lena Marceau is a woman without a past. Oh, she grew up with a family in France, married well, or so it seemed, is now divorced from a controlling husband, and has an excellent position as a court reporter in the Australian court system and is enjoying life in the swinging 60s. But Lena had been found wandering the streets of Paris during the Nazi occupation, she was raised by a loving family but without any knowledge of her origins and real family. Then, in the normal routine of her work in court, a familiar, terrifying voice, that of the judge, breaks through her subconscious and begins her on a journey of recalled nightmares and a quest for . . . justice? vengeance? It is a quest that leads her into danger both at home and abroad as she seeks the truth about what happened to her mother and the butterfly earrings that match the necklace she remembers from childhood.
Lena is a complex character, becoming self-reliant after her divorce and seeking only partners rather than a husband. She has a brother, also adopted, who has a mysterious life in Israel and as she researches German immigration into post-war Australia and violence begins to threaten her personally, she is drawn into the world of Mossad and counter-terrorism. The story brings up the moral issue of the ambiguity between justice and vengeance and may leave the reader with an uncomfortable feeling about how Lena deals with resolving issues of fear, hatred, and passion for retribution.
Campbell herself has been a court reporter and gives us excellent glimpses into that particular career and the suspense she generates in all the settings of her book, from Riga, Latvia in 1941 on a foggy passage to freedom, to the fear of separation from her mother in Paris, 1943, to Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Crete, and Rio de Janeiro in the late 60s. It is a tautly told plot with many twists as Lena’s search takes her in two directions, one to trace her mother’s past, the other to prove the judge’s past of brutality and duplicity. It is a compelling tale that keeps you turning the pages until it’s final conclusion. * * * * *
If you, too, are a fan of mysteries, I hope you’ll not only enjoy my Monday posts but will contribute by publishing your own Monday Mystery, mentioning my meme, then come to my blog, comment on your mystery (or mine) briefly, and include the link directly to your mystery review. You can also copy my MMM badge to your blogsite.