Jane “Jinx” Kingsley wakes up in a hospital room: she tried to commit suicide by driving her car against a pillar. Her fiancé, Leo Wallader, left off with her best friend, Meg Harris. They both eloped to France to escape rumors and accusations. Jinx doesn’t remember about this: she suffers from amnesia and last remembers kissing Leo goodbye and heading to her parents’ house to plan the wedding…

Something doesn’t add up though: Jinx doesn’t feel sad nor angry about Meg betraying her, and even feels relieved that her wedding with Leo is canceled. She knows she was about to leave Leo herself; she can’t imagine committing suicide over him. As she tries to convince her entourage of this fact, a fear invades her but she doesn’t know exactly who or what to fear…

When two bodies turn up, soon identified as Leo and Meg, Jinx’s fears seem to be justified. Who killed them? Why did Leo and Meg never made it to France? How will Jinx fight the suspicions weighing on her or on her rich and controlling father? How can Jinx prevent the police to connect these deaths and the unsolved murder of her previous husband, ten years ago?

In The Dark Room, Minette Walters manages to shift suspicion from one character to another, through a very suspenseful development. I had reviewed The Breaker in 2000, and though it didn’t leave a lasting impression (otherwise I wouldn’t have waited three years to read another Walters), I liked her original style which consists in alternating narration with newspaper clippings or police reports. She uses the same method in The Dark Room, and I found the story more engrossing, even if I wasn’t blown away by the ending. If the culprit didn’t exactly come as a surprise, at least I didn’t suspect him/her until late in the book…

The Dark Room is a very decent mystery based on psychological suspense and character development, and I probably won’t wait three more years to read another novel by this author…

Rating: 3,5/5