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….
It is the time of the year for wintery,Christmas stories and short stories are well adapted to represent the different aspects of the Christmas spirit. There are ten stories in this edition and I found perhaps two of them less attractive. Not too bad for an anthology. They are or charming and very Christmas minded or dark and very wintery. There is a lovely story by Ellis Peters(The Trinity Cat),a rather sad one by Margery Allingham(On Christmas Day in the Morning),a closed room mystery by Julian Symons (the Santa Claus Club),a classic golden age one by John Dickson Carr (The Footprints in the Sky) and some stories by ” newer” authors (Ian Ranking,Val Mcdermid…). All in all a very good compilation of Christmas mysteries.
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.