Lucy Swann is trying on a new life.
She's cut and dyed her hair and bought new clothes, but she's only got as far as a small town in northern France when her flight is violently cut short.
When Inspector Vivier and his handsome assistant Sabine Pelat begin their investigation the chance encounters of her last days take on a new significance.
Lucy's death, like a stone thrown into a pool, sends out far-reaching ripples, altering the lives of people who never knew her as well as those of her loved ones back home.
Significance by Jo Mazelis was published in paperback by Seren Books on 11 September 2014.
Lucy Swann is dead. She came to France to escape her life in England. She changed her hairstyle, her clothes, her outlook and spent just a few days in an ordinary hotel room in an anonymous town in France.
During those few days, Lucy met or was associated with various people, both local and visitors, and it is these people who form the chapters, and the detail of this incredibly clever book. It doesn't matte whether Lucy spoke in depth to these people, or just briefly encountered them, the author ensures that each one of them have a voice and a story, and each one of them are intriguing in their own way. As the reader learns more about Scott, the Canadian visitor; about Suzette the waitress and her emerging relationship with Fabien and about Joseph, the African medical student-to-be, we also learn more about Lucy herself.
It is a brave author who creates a murder mystery, but makes the murderer and motive have so little significance, yet it is clever and very different and allows the reader to delve deeply into the would-be suspects, whilst at the same time understanding that the who and the why are far less important than the victim herself.
I have never read anything quite like Significance before, it is original, it is thought-provoking, it is multi-layered and complex yet enticing and very addictive.
It is a murder mystery story, it is a thriller, it is also a delicately crafted, beautifully written story that will both delight and perplex the reader.
My thanks to Sarah at Seren who sent my copy for review.
Born in Swansea, she has a BA from Swansea Institute and a MA from the University of Wales Swansea.
She has been a prize-winner in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition three times, and her stories and poetry have appeared in New Welsh Review and Poetry Wales, among other publications. Circle Games (Parthian, 2005) was on the Wales Book of the Year 2006 Long List.