Title: My Best Friend’s Murder
Author: Polly Phillips
Published: January 6th 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
You’re lying, sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, legs bent, arms wide.
If I squint, you could be playing Sleeping Bunnies. Or maybe Twister.
I wish I could tell you how the blood pooling around your head looks like a halo.
But you’re past listening.
I need to let the paramedics in. And then I have to be careful.
Because as the energy trickles out of your body it’s pumping into mine.
And while this could be a tragic accident, if anyone’s got a motive to hurt you, it’s me.
Bec and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. They’ve been through a lot together – the death of Bec’s mother, the birth of Izzy’s daughter, Bec’s engagement.
But there’s a darker side to their friendship, too – and Bec is about to reach breaking point.
Then Izzy is found broken and bloodied at the bottom of the stairs.
It could have been an accident – perhaps she fell – but if the police decide to look for a killer, then Bec is sure to be their prime suspect.
This is The Rumour meets The Holiday, a compulsive thriller with a toxic but layered friendship at its heart that keeps you in the dark until the final few breathless pages . . .
‘What Ed doesn’t realise is that it’s not about whether or not this row will blow over or how busy Izzy is. It’s about whether or not Izzy and I ever had a friendship at all.’
The complex nature of female friendships, a shock tragedy and unclear motives outline My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips. A resident of my own home state, Polly Phillips has crafted a shrewd and savvy whodunnit, which allows this new author to make her mark on the domestic thriller scene as a debut novelist.
In My Best Friend’s Murder we are presented with a besetting tale of two lifelong friends, who have been there for each other through the ups and downs of life. Bec and Izzy have supported each other through many difficult life events and transitions. But not all friendships are smooth sailing, as we discover through Bec and Izzy’s complex relationship dynamic. Tensions mount, as a sinister tone to their relationship takes a hold, resulting in a deep crisis. What follows is a terrible and tragic incident, which leaves one of the pair dead. With this in mind, police point fingers at Bec, the surviving friend, but is she capable of killing her best friend?
Our book club recently settled on My Best Friend’s Murder for our monthly read. I was pleased by this choice as I love to support local writers. Debut novelist Polly Phillips is originally from the UK, but she is now based in Perth. I am always intrigued by new authors and I was keen to give My Best Friend’s Murder a go. Overall, I’m really pleased our book club chose this novel to read, as it raises plenty of discussion points.
My Best Friend’s Murder is narrated from the viewpoint of Bec, one half of a long-standing bestie relationship. I appreciated getting to know this character, even though I didn’t have much to like about Bec, or her best friend Izzy. Despite that fact that I didn’t warm to these characters at all, I still enjoyed following their relationship milestones, along with their good and bad moments. Phillips does a fine job of exploring the complexities of a tenuous female friendship. With this particular relationship dynamic, we are presented with a few issues from jealousy, perfection, image, grief, loss, marriage, parenthood, family, fame, fortune and guilt. There is a heavy sheen of toxicity that seems to follow this long-standing connection. Phillips also looks at the hidden areas of difficult female relationships. There is plenty to ponder on and the approach Phillips takes to her narrative is believable.
The narrative direction in My Best Friend’s Murder is pretty specific. We are presented with a shocking opening, which then sees Phillips track to the time before, around three months or so, along with some time after the pinnacle narrative event. This was an interesting route to take, that seemed to benefit me as an onlooker following on. There are precise date and time allocations attached to each chapter, which definitely helped to build true sense of what was going on. However, just when I thought I had this one worked out, or distinguished which character was responsible for something, the plot changed direction. My Best Friend’s Murder is a sharp novel with an acutely plotted storyline. This one really begs the question – can you truly kill a friendship? I liked this question very much!
With two rather dynamic lead female characters, filled with their own issues and problems, the male cast did seem to pale in comparison. I could see the purpose of male cast members such as Ed and Rich, but they definitely did not have the same page presence that their female counterparts. The subsequent support cast add a sense of intrigue to the unfolding events and they also work to enhance the whodunnit factor of this tale. I know I didn’t have the final culprit earmarked at all, so kudos to Phillips for duping me!
Domestic thrillers seemed to be all the rage lately and My Best Friend’s Murder slots very nicely into this burgeoning genre. I look forward to seeing what Perth based writer Polly Phillips comes up with next following my appreciation of her debut release.
My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips was published on 6th January 2021 by Simon & Schuster. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of My Best Friend’s Murder, Polly Phillips, here.
*I wish to thank Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
My Best Friend’s Murder is book #7 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge