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Just Like the Other Girls    by Claire Douglas order for
Just Like the Other Girls
by Claire Douglas
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2022 (2020)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a rather spooky and perplexing mystery by Claire Douglas, author of Then She Vanishes. Readers learn of several look-alike young women who, in turn, accept live-in positions with the very wealthy and entitled Mrs. Elspeth McKenzie at her mansion, The Cuckoo's Nest. Bad things happen to them, but who is behind it all?

First we meet Una, grieving over her mother's death. It seems the ideal situation for her, aside from the obvious hostility of Elspeth McKenzie's adopted daughter. Kathryn is there often, despite having a husband and two boisterous sons to keep her busy. Readers quickly share the dismissive thoughts of a sinister someone watching Una and concluding 'you'll soon regret taking that job.' We also learn that Kathryn has her own secrets.

Una finds out that her predecessor, Jemima, left a few months before with no warning. Before Uno, there was Matilde, killed in a hit-and-run. Police show up to inform them that Jemima has been found dead. The housekeeper tells Una that Elspeth's spoilt elder daughter Viola (who looked very like Una and the others) ran away from home at eighteen and hasn't been heard from since. Una begins to worry and makes contact with Jemima's brother.

After Una comes spunky Willow as the new companion. Willow and Una's best friend work together as amateur sleuths. The police zero in as well as readers are enlightened as to the back story behind Viola's disappearance. The ending is quite a surprise, as is one final twist.

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