Book Review: Fingerprints by Marcia Leonard

Fingerprints by Marcia LeonardRating: 4.5/5
Number of pages: 214
First published: 2012
Genre: mystery
I got this book: from the author for review
Amazon link

This book was as wonderful as I expected. You know when you have started a book and you are really looking forward to sitting down with it again? And when you finish you feel sad that you can’t read more, even when the actual story has been concluded nicely? This is that kind of book for me.

Fingerprints: What it is about

Real estate agents Julie Williams has a mildly retarded son. When she finds him at one of the houses she’s looking after with blood on his hands and a body in the hall, she’s convinced he’s innocent. However, the police find his fingerprints on the murder weapon and he is arrested.

The police think they have their murderer and refuse to look into the case any further. Julie contacts a lawyer, Clark Horowitz, who gives her the name of a private investigator. As the PI has no time to take on her case. Julie decides to investigate on her own and visits people that were close to the murdered man, sometimes risking her own safety. She reports back to Clark Horowitz every few days, and together they decide on what to do next.

We get to know Clark, the lawyer, a bit better. His wife has a multiple personality disorder. He’s still loyal to her, even after a horrific event a few years ago, but he also develops feelings for Julie.

And then there is Liz, the daughter of the town drunk, who slept her way into a good marriage with a much older man. She knows more about the murder than she should.

Bit by bit Julie discovers more about the murdered man and his enemies. But it isn’t until she visits Liz that she realises what really happened.

Fingerprints: What I thought

This is a good old mystery without too many bells and whistles. The main character isn’t a drunk or in relationship trouble (this is something I have started to dislike about mysteries/thrillers, see my review of The Snowman). She’s just a hard-working single Mum, trying to look after her slightly retarded, 20 year old son. And until the murder, they were doing just fine.

The fact that Julie goes and investigates the murder herself is a little unbelievable, but given that she hasn’t a lot of money to hire someone (and the one she did want to hire wasn’t available) it’s not strange that she starts inquiries herself. She is convinced of the innocence of her son and the police aren’t willing to investigate the case.

I felt attached to Julie quite soon in the story. I wasn’t totally convinced that Jeffrey was completely innocent but it felt only natural that Julie believed this. Because Julie couldn’t take much time off from work, we also learn a bit about her real estate customers and the houses they visit with her. I love big and beautiful houses so it was a real pleasure to “visit” them in the novel.

I just loved following Julie around on her enquiries and through her houses. The same is true for the lawyer, Clark. Most of his story is in the past, telling the reader about his wife. The book could have pulled the heart strings a little more. In theory, Clark and Julie liked each other, but since it was a like/love that wasn’t supposed to be, they were very quick in denying to themselves that anything was going on. A few more hints that something was growing between them would have helped the romance part of the story along.

The fact that Clark had a wife with multiple personality disorder made a very good story but it wasn’t very pertinent to the story of Julie and her son’s arrest. It could probably fit in a completely different book, too. Having said that, it was very interesting to read about the disease.

I loved the way Julie discovered how Jeffrey’s fingerprints ended up on the knife although I’m not sure they would have been in perfect condition by the time the police found them.

This was a delightful read and I was sorry when I finished because I wanted to spend much more time with Julie.


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

4 Responses to Book Review: Fingerprints by Marcia Leonard

  1. Sounds like a good thriller to me… Thanks, Judith.

  2. Charlie says:

    Now you’ve said it I’m starting to think of the mysteries I’ve read where characters are in some kind of bad place (quite a few before I started blogging). Love stories where the ordinary person finds out the truth, it’s often more interesting because of the difference in approach.

  3. AT first this sounded like a Jodi Piccoult books I read, House Rules I think. It does sounds interesting and I had to laugh at your comment about The Snowman, which I did not love – and now am off to see your review of that one.

  4. bibliosue says:

    I agree that it’s nice to see a main character without so many of his/her own issues that detract from the overall plot.
    This sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the review.

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