Book Review: The Santorium by Sarah Pearse (Elin Warner, 1)

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse is a chilling locked-room mystery that was published in 2021. The novel follows the story of Elin Warner, a detective who is recovering from a traumatic incident, as she investigates a series of murders at a remote Swiss hotel that used to be a sanatorium.

The novel is set in a stunning location – a former sanatorium that has been converted into a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps. However, the isolated and eerie atmosphere of the hotel adds to the sense of unease and tension that permeates the novel. The hotel is cut off from the rest of the world by a blizzard, leaving Elin and the other guests trapped inside with a killer.

The novel is divided into three parts, each building on the tension and suspense of the previous one. The first part sets up the scene and introduces the main characters, while the second part delves deeper into the mystery of the murders and the hotel’s dark past. The third and final part is a fast-paced and thrilling race against time as Elin and the remaining guests try to solve the mystery and stay alive.

One of the strengths of The Sanatorium is its atmosphere. Pearse does an excellent job of creating a haunting and eerie setting, with the remote and isolated hotel becoming a character in its own right. The isolation of the hotel and the blizzard outside adds to the sense of claustrophobia and danger, as the guests become trapped with a killer.

The characters in the novel are well-drawn and complex, with Elin being a particularly interesting and well-rounded protagonist. Her past traumas and personal struggles add depth and complexity to her character, and her determination to solve the mystery despite her own personal demons is admirable.

The mystery itself is well-crafted and keeps the reader guessing until the very end. The twists and turns of the plot are cleverly done, and the solution to the mystery is satisfying and unexpected. Pearse does an excellent job of weaving in clues and red herrings, keeping the reader engaged and constantly questioning what is really going on.

The pacing of the novel is also well-done, with the tension and suspense building gradually throughout the story. The final part of the novel is a thrilling race against time as Elin and the remaining guests try to uncover the truth and survive.

The Sanatorium is an excellent locked-room mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Pearse’s writing is atmospheric and suspenseful, and the setting of the remote Swiss hotel adds an extra layer of tension and danger to the story. The well-developed characters and cleverly crafted mystery make this a novel that is sure to satisfy fans of the genre. If you’re looking for a chilling and thrilling locked-room mystery, The Sanatorium is definitely a book to consider.


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