The Thirteenth Tale

Last night I finished reading Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteeth Tale, one of those books that I have to admit got my attention because of its cover: a stack of old but colorful books.  Briefly, it’s about a young lady, Margaret Lea, who works in a bookstore and enjoys writing small biographies about those who have passed on.  If you are an excessive booklover like me, then you will enjoy the pages and pages of description on how Margaret lives and breathes books.

Margaret is called upon by a famous author, Vida Winter (this today’s JK Rowling), who wants Margaret to write her official biography.  Vida is a vivid storyteller, often bending the truth to appease herself.  After all, stories are wonderful lies, she says.  But she vows to tell Margaret the truth. And so the majority of the 400 page book is Vida’s story.

The title of the book comes from one of Vida’s books which was to be a collection of 13 short stories, but only 12 were published in the final book.  And so, the mystery of that 13th tale begins.  The book dwells into subjects of murder, ghosts, incest, sibling rivalry, and much more.  Family plays a big part of it, as Vida tells you the story of twin sisters growing up in a huge mansion with strange parents.  Margaret was also a twin.  Here sister was connected to her and died when they were separated.  And so, Margaret is haunted by a ghost of herself which she sees in the mirror and in her reflection in windows.

Overall, the book is a good mystery with no need for a detective.  It definitely kept me guessing until the end drew near.  I was very excited to find myself all wrong on several occasions.  It was also nice to spend some time with a book that encompasses two things I love most…reading and writing.  I definitely look forward to Setterfield’s next.



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