The only drawback was that it was about twins, identical except that one is more successful than the other and, naturally, she is the one who is killed. Lazy-plotting alarms bells ring when twins appear in fiction but I needn't have worried; although the symmetry and asymmetry between teacher Lydia and photographer Elisa is heightened by their shared appearance, it is a window for insight rather than a device to create coincidence and confusion.
Shadow Sister is set in Rotterdam, and the challenging, volatile school at which Lydia teaches was far way (in Dutch terms) from the cycle lanes of northern Holland; as a travel guide it was not a good choice. It begins by exploring the tensions among immigrant communities, as caring Lydia tries to cope with cultural imperatives of a young and proud Muslim troublemaker, Bilal, who pulls a knife on her in class.
A few weeks later she is killed - shot. The novel is then told in alternating first person narratives, by Lydia who recounts the events leading to her murder, and by Elisa who is determined to find her killer. Predictably, neither woman is quite what she seems and van der Vlugt skilfully allows the reader to draw out these differences.
The blurb on the back draws parallels with Nicci French, who I have never read, but I suspect Shadow Sister would not disappoint those who enjoy Sweden's queen of crime, Karin Alvtegen.
- Shadow Sister, by Simoner van der Vlugt, trans. from the Dutch by Michelle Hutchison. Bought following a review at Petrona.