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  • a compelling read

    My Best Friend’s Murder is the first novel by UK-born Australian author, Polly Phillips. Izzy is at the bottom of the stairs, with a halo of blood forming around her head, while her best friend, Bec carefully examines the scene. What could have led up to this? And what will ensue? Rebecca Maloney is a Features Assistant with Flare magazine. Isabel Waverly is a busy wife and mother. Bec and Izzy have been best friends since they were eleven. Izzy has a perfect life: a beautiful house in Clapham, money to buy the best of everything, the devotion of the gorgeous Rich, an adorable three-year-old daughter, and parents and in-laws who dote on their grandchild. Bec’s life, on the other hand, is not quite that: a dingy flat, an ugly dog, a dull dress sense, and a boyfriend who proposes with the wrong sort of ring. Meanwhile her best friend has the man she’d thought, at fifteen, was about to choose her, before Izzy breezed in and took him. And yet, they are friends. After all, Izzy was there when Bec’s mother died, and no-one else was. When it suited her. Does the story behind that engagement ring set in motion the cascade of events that finds Izzy at the foot of the staircase? Or was it brewing well before that? The way Bec tells it, Izzy does seem adept at stealing Bec’s thunder, at delivering back-handed compliments, at damning her with faint praise. But does Bec’s long-standing resentment over Rich cause her to lay blame too readily at Izzy’s door, and summarily dismiss her denials? Initially, the reader will be wondering just how reliable a narrator Bec really is: do her friends actually treat her like a doormat? Are the perceived slights as bad as she describes? And is her clumsiness as accidental as she makes out? Are her faux-pas more intentional than well-intentioned? Or does Bec’s emotional greed sometimes render her the architect of her own downfall? There aren’t really any characters that will endear themselves to the reader; they are either weak and compliant (or acting that way); or toxic users; thus, care factor very low. And yet, this one’s hard to put down, a bit like being unable to turn away from a train wreck, a compulsion to see just how far things can go wrong. Phillips throws in several red herrings and some jaw-dropping twists before final pages that will leave the reader gasping. A compelling read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Simon & Schuster Australia.

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    3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A thrilling debut

    With this book the suspense starts with the summary. You immediately start to wonder what truely lies behind the friendship of Bec and Izzy. Their friendship is described as a deep and abiding one, where they have shared some of the greatest experiences life has to offer, however, the insight provided into Bec’s thoughts that she might be considered a suspect in Izzy’s death, hints that not everything is as rosy as we are lead to believe. If you looked up the term frenemies in the dictionary, Bec and Izzy would be printed in bold and highlighted! The relationship between them is so toxic. I liked Bec’s character, but she did frustrate me and I did wish she would stand up for herself more and not put up with Izzy’s poor behaviour, although I do know firsthand of how hard it is to do this and break ties with someone who has been in your life for so long. The outcome provided a huge twist, which was a real surprise to me and not what I expected at all. This is normally a good thing but, the cause and motivation behind this murder, I found to be a little bit extreme… at first. If you step back and really think about the cause, which I did after a few days as it was still on my mind, I did understand it a lot better. As a debut, I think Polly Phillips has done a great job with this book. The plot and narrative is strong, the writing is sharp, engaging and importantly, was able to hold my attention throughout. I think Polly Phillips has a very promising writing career ahead of her and I look forward to following her writing journey. My Best Friends Murder is a gripping and fast paced read that will have you flicking the pages long into the night. If you are a fan of the psychological fiction genre and stories which are full of secrets, lies, deceit and an in-depth look at a fractured friendship, then I encourage you to add My Best Friends Murder to your books to read in 2021.

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Page-turner

    This book is a real page turner. Izzie and Bec have been long-time best friends, or are they? Izzie, who appears to have a perfect life, does sometimes provide Bec with support and friendship, but too often undermines and shames her. When Bec finds Izzie’s mortally wounded body at the foot of a staircase, the question is raised: did she fall or was she pushed? Bec, the narrator of the story, admits that she could be the main suspect. What follows are a discussion of the events leading up to, and following, Izzie's body being found. A lot of the early part of the book is an exploration of Bec and Izzie’s complex relationship and the latter part becomes a who, if anyone, dunnit. The author lives in Melbourne, but the story is set in London. This disappointed me a teensy bit but did not detract from my enjoyment of reading it.

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