Sister is a good example of why I refuse to put up my nose at genre fiction. Billed as a mystery novel with a plot that sounds like something ripped from today's headlines, Sister is actually a novel about love and family and grieving and acceptance.
Let me say first that this is, in fact, a first rate mystery. The plot is thoughtful and well laid out, and the story is not as formulaic as some mystery/thrillers. But this book is so much more than just a mystery novel. It is a love story about sisters, and a story about grief. Every part of Beatrice's story-told as a letter to her dead sister-drips with raw, honest, sometimes painful emotion. Every turn of phrase draws you in more deeply to Beatrice's state of mind, her regrets, her guilt, her anger, and her sorrow. But you also begin to see Beatrice change, from the stodgy women she was quickly becoming, to someone stronger and more alive. Her sister's death frees her from convention, allows her to become this person who makes waves, who questions authority, who is not afraid to say the hard or uncomfortable things. Lupton's writing is almost poetic at times, giving the whole story an easy flow that draws you in and engages not just your logical, figure-out-the-mystery brain, but the part of your brain that appreciates beauty, even in sadness.