Cover for Janis Bolster's novel Doubles


A novel by Janis Bolster. ISBN: 978-0-9824848-7-6. Trade paperback, 268 pages. Published November 2013. Can be ordered from Reck House Press, selected bookstores, or Amazon for $16.95: use the "Add to Cart" button below to be brought to a secure site for ordering. A Reader's Guide is available for this title.

Janis Bolster is the author of the Sally Jean Chalmers Editorial Mysteries.

About Doubles:

Claire Gray will risk anything to find out why her sister died. Kay was her identical twin, her double, and Kay's death interrupted a reconciliation between the sisters after years of separation. Claire can't accept that death as an accident until she rules out suicide, but before long, the "accident" starts looking a lot like murder.

Claire backtracks her sister's recent life through the art worlds of coastal Maine and Montreal. At first she assumes she knows everything important about Kay. After all, she know herself, doesn't she?

But Claire finds Kay's fiancé frightening. Kay's ex-husband hostile. Even Kay's best friend is guarded. Everyone who knew Kay during their years apart tells Claire of a person she would never recognize as her twin. And Kay's choices during their estrangement are disquieting. Did one of them lead to her death? And is Claire as blameless as she thought?

The more Claire learns about Kay, the more questions she ends up with. Did Kay understand her own conflicts? Did she resent the closeness that meant so much to Claire? Above all, what was Kay afraid of?

Though it's a relief when Claire's own estranged husband shows up to help her settle Kay's estate, his presence adds to her stress. He wants her back; she's not so sure.

At last Claire realizes she's been looking to the wrong people for answers. But by then she's put forces in motion that threaten her own survival.

From Doubles:

Andy’s voice took Claire by surprise. “I’ve been thinking,” he began.

Well, she had, too. But she said just, “Yes?”

Again he surprised her. “You said you didn’t find Kay’s will. She had one.”

“She did? It hasn’t turned up. Maybe she destroyed it after the two of you separated.”

“Have you found everything else of hers?”

Good point. “No, some of her financial records are missing, and there’s no e-mail on her computer.”

“Yeah. Well, maybe you just haven’t looked in the right places.”

“I’ve looked everywhere, Andy – her house, both studios. I finally found her address book in the back of a bookcase.”

He laughed without amusement. “That’s a new one.”

“If she . . . destroyed records on purpose, the one she wouldn’t have touched was a will. If she still had one.”

“I might have some ideas about where you’d find it.”

“Such as?” She was up off the bed by now, pacing the room.

“Look, I think I’d better come down for a day or two. Talk to this lawyer you told me about, see if I can locate the stuff nobody else has found.”

“Andy, you don’t need to turn your life upside down. You can talk to the lawyer on the phone, and if you’ll just give me any inspirations you’ve got about finding things, God knows I’ll appreciate them. Though why you think she’d still have a will I can’t imagine. She didn’t own anything much, just whatever equity she had in the cottage and her paintings. And from what she said last summer, she was in no mood to leave even that much to you.”

Another nasty laugh. “Where’d you get the idea she left it to me?”

“She was married to you!”

“Yeah, well, Kay was never married the way I was married. And I’d say there’s some assets of hers you don’t know about. Anyhow, I’ll come down tomorrow – no, day after tomorrow. Monday.”

“What do you mean, assets I don’t know about?”

“You talk to Roger Webber?”

“I’ve never even heard the name.” She pushed back her hair in frustration as she circled again around the furniture.

“Yeah. Like I said, there’s assets, and there’s a will.”

“You mean she left her property to this Roger Webber?”.

“Not unless she changed her mind.”

She thought about kicking the dresser as a good substitute for her brother-in-law. Ex-brother-in-law. Whatever he was. “Would you like to enlighten me, Andy? Or are you having too much fun?”

He sighed. “I assumed you knew. She made a will before we even got married, and she never changed it. It didn’t matter for years, because she didn’t own much. Then, by the time things changed, she wouldn’t have wanted me for a beneficiary anyway. She picked the constant in her life, the one person she figured would always be there.” He sighed again. “Shit, she left everything to you, Claire – house, paintings, and whatever she had left of old Roger’s money.”


Reader responses to Doubles:

The trouble and opportunity with a doubling plot is that it strews gratuitous red herrings at every turn. This one kept me speculating till the end: artfully done!

– Susan T., Columbus, OH

Riveting all the way through! The psychological aspects of this book are what make it so good. A great job of portraying some complex and dark characters. I especially liked the way Claire gradually and reluctantly came to see (and embrace) Kay's complicated personality. Wow. I am impressed.
Look forward to the next one .

- Mary B., Walnut Creek, CA

I stayed up all night to finish the book, and wondered all the next day how well I actually know my own sisters. Everytime I thought I had the book figured out, some new information was introduced that cast doubts on my detective ability. I confess, I never saw the resolution coming. Really, really good.

- Karen H., San Diego, CA



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