I was part-way through My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips when it occurred to me it might be set in Australia. What I very much liked about that thought was not that it might be set in my home country, but rather it translated into any number of locations. An excellent idea for a debut author which would make the book relevant and relatable across a number of english-speaking markets. Of course there might (also) have been references to places or landmarks I missed or didn’t recognise!
And I very much enjoyed this book, reading it in a sitting on Christmas night when I was supposed to be bingeing on a new Netflix release.My Best Friend's Murder
by Polly Phillips
Published by Simon & Schuster AU
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Thriller / Suspense, Psychological Thriller
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.
The book opens with Bec finding Izzy at the bottom of the stairs. Phillips then takes us back to very specific moments – we have dates and times – over a two or three month period before. We also hang around for several months after.
As the blurb mentions Bec and Izzy have been besties since school. But… we slowly learn that Izzy is a fairly toxic friend. Bec is recognising this now thanks to a few incidents but it seems there’s been some in the past. Fewer perhaps, so she’s been hurt but recovered, forgotten them and moved on.
To we readers from the outside-looking-in Izzy is not pleasant. It’s hard to find her excuses credible and her behaviour forgivable. It’s an awakening of sorts for Bec whose brother Rob remains astonished she’s been oblivious all of this time, and refers to them as frenemies.
I liked that Phillips takes some time to analyse the relationship. That ultimately Bec recognises her jealousy over Izzy’s perfect life – that she has everything Bec has wanted – but later in the book we’re given a smidge of insight into Izzy’s thoughts as well.
Complicating factors is Rich, Izzy’s husband who Bec knew before her friend and fancied herself. And then there’s Bec’s fiance Ed, who works with Izzy and seemingly idolises her. Thankfully Phillips doesn’t offer up the obvious here and she gives us something a little more complex.
Although the book’s centred around Bec’s realisation that her relationship with Izzy is unhealthy and she decides to make some changes in her life, hovering in the background is the fact that (we know) things culminate with Izzy being found in a pool of blood at the bottom of some stairs.
I most certainly didn’t pick whodunnit. I guessed it was someone unexpected and actually think my suspect would have been better in some ways… *insert hair flick here*
This is a great debut novel by Phillips. It’s well-paced with complex characters (all offering shades of grey) and a plot that kept me guessing.
My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips will be published in Australia by Simon & Schuster in early January 2021.
I received an early copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.