Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to participate in the blog tour for The Octopus, written by Tess Little, hosted by Hodder and Stoughton.
There’s more than one way to capture a life. When Elspeth arrives at her ex-husband’s LA mansion for his 50th birthday party, she’s expecting a crowd for the British film director. Instead, there are just seven other guests and Richard’s pet octopus, Persephone, watching over them from her tank.
Come morning, Richard is dead.
In the weeks that follow, each of the guests comes under suspicion: the school friend, the studio producer, the actress, the actor, the new boyfriend, the manager, the cinematographer, and the ex-wife, Elspeth herself. As stories of Richard’s past surface, colliding with Elspeth’s memories of their marriage, she begins to question not just who killed Richard, but why these eight guests were invited, and what sort of man would want to trap this mysterious, intelligent creature.
From the LA hills to the Norfolk marshes, The Octopus is a stylish exploration of power: the power of memory, the power of perception, the power of one person over another.
– My Thoughts –
The Octopus is a strange, twisted take on your classic murder mysteries.
The story begins with our heroine, Elspeth, discovering the dead body of her ex-husband Richard Bryant, a British film director. His last day was quite an eventful one as it was his birthday and as Hollywood cliches go, of course, there were drinks and drugs galore. Present at this birthday party were nine people including Richard and through Elspeth’s perspective, we can see that it was a bit too weird. As Elspeth entered her ex’s house, Richard kept talking about a mysterious Persephone and this ‘Persephone’ turns out to be an octopus.
This novel was unlike any mystery I’ve ever read. You quickly learn that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill murder mystery. It marries a closed-room murder mystery with the skillful exploration of the abuse of power, control, and manipulation.
It is clear from the beginning that Elspeth does not want to be at this party, but she’s only here because of her 19-year-old daughter Lillie. However, Lillie never turns up, and instead, Elspeth is forced to spend the party with the following guests: Richard’s current male partner and lover Honey, his manager Jerry, schoolfriend Tommo, rich producer Miguel, cinematographer Kei, actress Sabine Semi and young actor, Charles Pace. After the party ends, Richard is found dead and assumed to have OD’d but police quickly disabuse them of that notion. Richard was murdered and as evidence suggests, the murderer is someone among the guests.
The narrative was a bit confusing to keep up with as it volleys back from past to present in the blink of an eye. It is slowly revealed that each of the guests, maybe even the octopus Persephone, have a multitude of reasons to murder Richard. Richard was a vile, manipulative, abusive husband, and human being. Even after his death, Elspeth along with the guests continues to lie and refuse to open up to the police about what Richard was really like. Will she ever be truthful or be trapped like Persephone trapped in Richard’s aquarium..like the mythical Persephone trapped in the underworld?
Overall, I would recommend this if you want to read a murder mystery with a twist.
Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review and for including me in the blog tour!
– About the Author –
Tess Little is a writer, historian, and Examination Fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford, the entrance exam to which is deemed ‘the hardest exam in the world’ – questions have included ‘What is the use of magic?’ and ‘Improve the rules of any one sport’, though Tess answered a question on hip hop v. Eurovision. She is currently working towards her doctorate on the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s, having spent the last few years interviewing feminist activists and visiting archives across the UK, France, and the US. Her short stories and non-fiction have appeared in Words And Women: Two, The Mays Anthology, The White Review, and on posters outside a London tube station. She was born in Norwich in 1992. This is her first novel.
Blog Tour Schedule
Thank you for reading! Do you think you’ll read The Octopus? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!