Set in Cambridge, England, The Start of Everything follows a cast of characters who find their lives are more intertwined than what it looks like on the surface. On the Cambridge University campus, Mathilde has become obsessed with finding out the identities of both the man who keeps sending letters and the non-existent person they’re addressed to at the school. With the discovery of a dead body in the water, Detectives Frohmann and Keene have no real leads until, on a seemingly unrelated investigation, it yields into something more. With clues leading them to a large manor occupied by several families, the two detectives uncover a story that goes far deeper and far more scandalous than they would have thought.
I quite like both versions of this cover, the pictured one as well as this U.S.(?) one. They both certainly would have attracted my attention from that alone. As for the story itself, it is quite well done. This mystery thriller runs the risk of having too many narrators, but they do come and go and at only a few moments does it seem too confusing. Interestingly enough, the change in narrators with each chapter wasn’t the confusing part, but keeping track of the supporting cast proved to be a bit more harrowing. I felt that the rest of the players, when initially introduced, didn’t necessarily have anything distinguishing about them. So at many moments, when said character(s) were brought up again later, I had to go back and see what relation they were to the narrator.
That being said, the story itself is an intricately woven one. The changing POVs with each chapter don’t detract from the overall novel at all, and in fact gives a more interesting way to watch the narrative unfold. The reader gets to find out something and not realize the significance until later, and I just love that kind of reveal. The Start of Everything will keep you wondering where it is going and how it’s going to be wrapped up. Winslow does a fantastic job juggling all the different narrators and tying up the loose ends in every direction. Great for fans of detective mysteries and crime-solving stories.