The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

When, in The Maidens by Alex Michaelides, a young woman shows up dead at Cambridge, Mariana Andros leaps into action to come to the side of her niece, Zoe. The longer that Andros is at the school, the more she is convinced that the person responsible for this and other murders of young women is Edward Fosca, an enigmatic professor. Fosca has a group of young female students, called The Maidens which he hosts parties for and pays special attention to. All of the murdered young women were a part of this group. As more and more of The Maidens show up dead, Andros becomes more desperate to find evidence of her suspicions and bring the killer to justice.


“Reading about life was no preparation for living it.” ― Alex Michaelides, The Maidens


I have not read a book like The Maidens by Alex Michaelides in quite a while. The aesthetic reminded me of Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, but the book was much more grounded in reality than fantasy. Still, the story had an almost dream-like quality to it where nothing felt certain. The writing itself has an almost hesitant quality which I found readable and endearing. The interludes of the letter that are woven throughout also had a nostalgic quality which allowed me to get lost in what it was saying until the very end.

With a main character that is certain that she has solved the case almost immediately, it wasn’t a surprise to me that she hadn’t in fact, gotten the culprit pinned correctly. I was surprised by the ending, even though I had felt it coming. The twist was deeper and broader than it was going to be. I felt instinctively that most of the characters had some trauma or another, but didn’t think this extended beyond the walls of Cambridge. Even so, I did feel like the resolution of the story was satisfying even if it was a little vague.

I recommend this book if you like murder mysteries that have a twist you won’t see coming.

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