So I’m reading this thriller by Sara Rayne—in the interests of not spoilering, I won’t tell you the title—and it starts off with a female serial killer in an asylum.
Great! Fine! That’s just what we like in our thrillers!
And now her sister has turned up, in the same asylum, who is also a serial killer, only because she was under a different name, nobody ever connected the two, because these were the bad old days before good medical records.
Well, okay, maybe it’s hereditary. Some mental illnesses run in families, right? We can work with that.
Now it turns out that the nice little old lady who runs the B&B in town is also a serial killer.
Leaving aside the fact that this book is apparently raining homicidal little old ladies, I have to admire the author’s technique for easing us into it with the nice old lady running the B&B. She started off shoving her aunt down the stairs, and you go “Well, okay, that was excessive, but she had these horribly traumatic events with the parents being shot and the being shoved into the charnal house full of corpses and watching her mother be picked apart by vultures, and she kinda had a good reason, in a weird child-logical sorta way. Fine. One aunt’s not a lot. As long as she’s eaten up by guilt over it for the rest of her life, we’ll let it slide.”
Then she shoves the other aunt out a window, same reason.
“Well, okay, two aunts is a little excessive…”
But really, it’s not until she frames her uncle with a dead hooker that you find yourself going “Lady, you have crossed the line! Two obnoxious maiden aunts I could give you, but when you start stabbing perfectly innocent hookers, you’ve gone too far!”
I can only assume that the so-far completely absent lead will also turn out to be a serial killer, and that the nice young woman with the tie-dyed hair that comes to help with the washing left a trail of corpses behind her on the way to the laundry room.
I don’t think I’d be able to write a crime/thriller/improbable serial killer reunion. It requires knowing too much about the real world, and I like my hand-waving. But I do enjoy reading them.