Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


APPLES NEVER FALL by Liane Moriarty: Book Review

The Delaney family has a very good life.  The parents, Joy and Stan, had been and continue to be outstanding tennis players, and when their competitive careers were over they started a tennis camp, nurturing their own children and other youngsters who went on to win tournaments.

Although Joy loves her children, she’s unhappy that none of them has given her a grandchild, something she desires with all her heart.  Now that she and Stan are no longer running the camp, her life doesn’t seem as fulfilled or busy as it was, and she’s sure a grandchild or two would fill that void.  She knows better than to mention it to either Brooke or Logan, the former married and the latter engaged, but she thinks about it all the time.

Then, into their lives one night comes a young woman who might fulfill the longing Joy has for someone to care for now that their own children are grown and living away from home.  The doorbell rings and when Stan answers it, a young woman, a stranger, stands on the other side of the threshold.

She wears a shirt with old grease stains on it and ripped jeans, but not in the stylish way.  No shoes or socks, her feet are purple with cold, and on her face is a fresh cut that is bleeding.  She doesn’t introduce herself but tells them she had a fight with her boyfriend, ran out of their apartment, and got into a taxi.  When she saw the lights on in the Delaneys’ house, she told the driver to stop because she thought the house appeared friendly, and she jumped out and onto their doorstep.

She looks scared and apologetic, and there’s no way Joy is letting her go out into the street again at this time of night, so Samantha, as she finally identifies herself, is their overnight guest.  Then she doesn’t leave.

Apples Never Fall is told in varying voices and time frames.  Joy is the main voice, but the children, Amy, Brooke, Trevor, and Logan, all have a part in the narrative.  And the first thing the reader learns is that now, several months after Samantha moved into Amy’s old room, Joy Delaney is missing.

Stan doesn’t seem to be very upset about his absent wife.  The Delaney children are concerned about their mother but not in agreement about what to do.  Joy hasn’t been in contact with any of them for over a week, an unheard of period of time, but at least two of the siblings are fearful that their father may become a suspect if they go to the police.  But how long can they, should they, wait while their mother remains missing?

There are brilliant clues in this novel, clues that the reader (at least this one) doesn’t understand until the end.  The Delaneys’ dog and the neighbor’s cat each have their own part in the mystery, as does an unwanted magnet and an ugly rug, but their importance isn’t obvious until the book’s end.  The skill with which the author buries the hints is truly Christie-esque.

Liane Moriarty has written an outstanding mystery, with an ending I doubt many readers will see coming; I certainly didn’t.  You can read more about her at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.




Leave a Reply