There is so much wrong with this book that I hardly know where to start…..It is full of inconsistencies,not to say mistakes(a grand chandelier,sparkling like diamonds,all that from the glow of 1 bulb,marvelous….;green eyes that mysteriously change into blue eyes and fifty pages further ,lo behold,they are chocolate brown;characters who seem to forget what they said,or asked,4 sentences earlier and so many more unbelievable errors (and I mean many more!)) As for the writing,there is virtually no description of any surrounding(the school is supposed to be gothic,well your guess is as good as mine…),the dialogues are static,there are strange time-lapses and none of the characters feel real(and are definitely not well defined),certain sentences are not finished and there are a load of silly mistakes(for example:it would help easy my conscience…) The worst read this year…it is a pity,because there is a good storyline hidden somewhere but unfortunately…..
Well,the storyline is good, it is a classic British murder mystery. Most of the characters are well developed and believable but for 3 keyplayers.A superintendent who seems to have a IQ of minus 20, DI Peach and his partner (both professional and personal) DS Blake. They are bordering on the slapstick side, unfortunately without the fun. (There is a love (bed)scene between the protagonists,and apart from being completely superfluous, it is probably a perfect antidote to any kind of love at all(the bloke goes aaaargh…,death throes,pleasure, shock???)) Pity….
London is groaning under a severe snowstorm and Siberian temperatures when the body of an elderly woman is found in an isolated ward of an abandoned and derelict asylum. As soon as Detective Lew Kirby and his partner Pete Anderson start their investigation a second body is found in the River Thames. It soon becomes clear that the past of Blackwater Asylum ,with its tragedies,rumours and whispers,is to play a major part towards the solving of these crimes. It is a good story and the setting,an abandoned asylum during wintertime,is fabulously atmospheric. The writing is sound and the two detectives are likeable and believable. But,there is always a but,there are so many storylines who are, some closely and some marginally, interweaved that it becomes a tad confusing and it does not always lead to a better story. And then some secondary storylines are left unsolved ,probably for a second episode, but ,barring a fantasy trilogy, I don’t really like that kind of open ending.
In the first story a set designer is found dead near a lake dressed in white pyjamas and ,of course, almost everybody has a sound reason to hate her. And ” everybody ” means a troupe of actors,a director and a wealthy supporter. The setting,a country house and the colourful characters are part of the charm. However when it comes to suspense it did not quite deliver the goods. It was really not difficult to guess who the culprit was. As for the second story,it was basically a locked room mystery. A rather fearsome woman ,who had more than her share of enemies,is found murdered in her locked studio in the garden. Here again it was not really difficult to find the murderer. But once it was established who the miscreant was the amateur sleuth, in this case a Major Boddy,needs to find proof and this drags on and on…The solution to the murder or more precisely the “how” is impossible to guess as the reader does not get any clues. All in all,two charming stories (country house, quirky characters, English summer garden…) but not quite successful ones when it comes to mystery and suspense. John Bude has better stories to tell…