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This was a mystery with twists and turns that kept me guessing. It is the first time I have read a mystery with a Christian theme that did not seem contrived. Good job!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
The good is: 1) the price - it was on sale, 2) the narrator - Simon Vance is one of the very best, and 3) the plot was plenty twisty in the end. The bad is: 1) the story was rather plodding and I almost gave up on it several times so almost didn't get to the end, 2) as other reviewers have mentioned, there is an inordinate amount of gratuitous religion and "preaching" that is not necessary to the story, 3) while I don't want to reveal any spoilers there are a number of instances that occur that make little sense as they are never totally explained or resolved, and 4) in the era this story took place, I have trouble imagining that young women would be allowed the freedom with the opposite sex that these girls apparently had.
All that being said, however, it was an okay read but I am afraid I am spoiled by the Christies, Allinghams, and Edmund Crispins etc. of the literary world. This one doesn't measure up by those standards.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
My sympathies lie with Ronald Knox, who must be spinning in his grave. Having read all of Knox's detective fiction, I'm at a loss to know why there is so much religion in this book. Knox never put any into his. He did put his religious views into the books but as logic not as prayer or idiotic pleas to any god.
I'm sure this book has a plot, I was just unable to find it (as were most of the characters). By the time the book is over, so many people are murdered that it's obvious whodunnit. The writing is all over the place, clues are not well defined at all and I doubt this was written by anyone who had read any Golden Age books.
On that point, I doubt the "author" is English. There are points of etiquette in the book that are totally wrong - no Englishman of that era would take such liberties as calling a woman by her first name after a day or so of knowing her, let alone kissing her. It's all wrong. Also there is a passage in the gardener's cottage where there is a reference to "menfolk" - not an English term.
All (or nearly all) Knox's rules are broken which makes the title a bit silly.
The one saving grace is Simon Vance's narration and I'm not sure he would be proud of having read such drivel. The narration is perfect, well paced and well voiced.
I would suggest to this "author" that they read a LOT of English works before trying again, learn about plotting and leave the prayers out of it. They add nothing to the book. If one wants to write a book about sermonising, do so. If one wants to write a detective book, leave the prayers out of it.
This book was a sad disappointment. I'm surprised any publisher touched it without a lot of editing.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful