TIGERS IN RED WEATHER is a finely tuned domestic drama that has the added intrigue of a small community murder. Told from multiple points of view, the interesting and heartbreaking story spans the period post world war II and some events during by which rationing and wartime romance are topics.
From 1944 through to 1969, the period piece provides a glimpse into the lives of a pair of cousins stemming from earlier memories at the Tiger house estate as youngsters themselves through to marriage and motherhood. Nick and Helena are portrayed as the classic yin gang yang with Klaussmann often casting the cousins in separate shades of gray. Their sides of the story couldn’t be different, where Nick thinks she’s helping, Helena perceives as hindering. It’s an intriguing format that encapsulates all aspects of a story from a variety of angles – much like in life, there is no single version of the truth.
Helena’s husband Avery is the Hollywood type whose shady dealings land Helena in hot water with Nick – the housewife who craves excitement and suffers boredom while seeking solace in adulterous fashion. Their children in Daisy (Nick’s daughter) and Ed (Helena’s son) develop a friendship of convenience by virtue of their close proximity to one another and historical ties to Tiger house. Klaussmann’s attention to feelings and knee jerk emotions is expertly crafted - from the discovery of a murdered young woman by Nick and Ed, to Ed’s subsequent development of an unsettling habit, each interaction and consequence changes the reader’s perception of events. The fifth character to have their side of the story told is Nick’s husband Hughes – a wartime vet returned home still coming to terms with a life far separate to his so called domesticated bliss. He’s pivotal to the story, while it may not seem apparent from the onset, Hughes adds a rough edge while at once taking a soft handed approach the murder discovery.
Klaussmann’s tale rivals Megan Abbott’s ability to convey so much with a mere gesture of fleeting glimpse of emotion. The characters tell a story through action with words often cheap and hollow. I enjoyed reading the different perspectives with all deepening the drama without feeling repetitive or necessary. Despite not a lot going on in terms of mystery, the character heavy tale maintained my attention from beginning to end – entirely captivating and well written.
TIGERS IN RED WEATHER is a beautiful book – the cover art portrays Daisy in perfect light, the story is strong through each iteration and the written flows seamless. I cant wait to see what’s next from Klaussmann.