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The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer by Joël Dicker

Title: The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer

Author: Joël Dicker

First Published on March 7th 2018; Translated version published on 4th March 2021

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer was originally written in French and translated to English recently.

In the summer of 1994, Orphea, a quite seaside town, sees four murders. The town’s mayor, his wife and son are brutally murdered. A jogger’s body is found near the entrance to the Mayor’s house – she had to be silenced as she came face to face with the killer. Twenty years later, a young journalist named Stephanie Mailer tells Jesse Rosenberg (who was involved in solving the Orphea murders) he caught the wrong guy. Jesse has four more days before he retires (early retirement) but Stephanie’s words leaves him doubting his work. He returns to Orphea and invites his then partner Derek Scott to join him in the (informal) investigations. Betsy, a young cop who moved to Orphea recently joins the duo.

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer is a long story. At over 640 pages (according to Goodreads), this isn’t your average murder mystery. I love the fact that each and every scene/plot is described in detail. The characters and their backstory are very well explained. With this long a book, it is obvious we have a lot of characters – at times, I found it difficult to remember them all.

Coming to the murder mystery, I must say this is one heck of a story. It took me three days to read this book – only because of the number of pages. A tad tiring to read such a long murder mystery but as the story ended, I felt all the descriptions and the details were definitely worth it. The 1994 murders shook the small town of Orphea; Jesse and Derek managed to catch the killer.

The story alternates between 2014 and 1994 – present and past. We have flashbacks – Jesse, Derek, Betsy and other characters’ (3 more to be precise) past. Each detail is revealed in bits – one tiny suspense at a time.

I cannot end this review without talking about the translation work. It was hard to believe The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer is a translated work. Excellent translation work! This is a riveting and gripping murder mystery. If you are looking for one of a kind read, you might want to give The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer a try.


Many thanks to Quercus Books and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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