MINM Review: Tangerine by Christine Mangan

An assured, stunner of a debut, Tangerine by Christine Mangan is an eloquent, slow-burning, historical novel of nuanced, psychological suspense. Tangerine is set predominantly in Tangier, during the lead up to Morocco's 1956 independence from France. With its Patricia Highsmith vibe, and its "Casablanca-esque" cover, this literary drama of intrigue is evocative of the medinas, the souks, the casbahs, the fragrant spice markets, and the heat of 1950s North Africa. Tangier becomes almost a character in its own right.

Told in chapters that alternate between the book's two female narrators, what initially seems to be a deep bond and friendship between Alice and Lucy is gradually revealed to be something far more complex, and possibly ominous. Tangerine is a novel with a sense of creeping, impending dread, with that delicious balance of potentially devious and calculating characters whose trustworthiness and innocence is in ever-simmering doubt, and yet the reader cannot help but feel some sympathy for them.

If you are looking forward to the longer, warmer days of spring, and need an antidote to the lingering winter, look no further than the intoxicatingly atmospheric novel, Tangerine.

Tangerine by Christine Mangan book cover image.jpg

Publisher's Blurb:

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country. 

But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.

Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless.

Best for Crime Fiction Readers:

  • Who appreciate atmospheric fiction, set in exotic locales.
  • Who are interested in the roles of, and expectations for, Western women in the 1950s (and interested in women who challenged those norms).
  • Who enjoy historical fiction and historical mysteries.
  • Who appreciate crime fiction and mysteries featuring one or more unreliable characters.
  • Who are interested in the interpersonal dynamics of obsessive love.
  • Who are interested in the complicated ambiguity of psychopathy, hiding in plain sight.
  • Who enjoy beautifully-written, literary mysteries and crime fiction.

Violence: Mild-to-Moderate

Profanity: None

Sexual Content: Mild

Explicit Language: None

Animal Cruelty: Mild

Thrilling Action: Mild-to-Moderate

Red Herrings: Mild-to-Moderate

Twists and Turns: Mild-to-Moderate

Suspense: Moderate

Plot Development: Moderate-to-High

Character Development: Moderate-to-High

Pages: 320 (Hardcover)

MINM Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars

Do you enjoy reading about far-away, exotic settings in your crime fiction?

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