* The Secret Place by Tanya French

The Secret Place bored me. It’s the story of a cold case investigation, the murder of a high school boy on the ground of a girls’ boarding school. The detectives, a gifted woman undermined by sexism on the squad and a man who is trying for a promotion, are wonderfully portrayed in their uneasy partnership. But the story they are investigating is seeped in inane girl rivalries, ineptly contained by a caricatural principal and teachers, and I could not wait for the 500 or so pages to end, along with their descriptions of vapid visits to the mall, silly flirtations, and lies everywhere, for no good reason.

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