The Marlow Murder Club

Basil seemed to be very much amused by the fact that I had once again indulged in another Waterstones’ recommendation, given how the last one had turned out. It was no surprise that I was somewhat cautious and a little more suspicious than I had been previously. Despite all this incessant deliberation, I couldn’t help myself as cosy murder mysteries are evidently my bookish kryptonite. Plus, it also helped that I was familiar with the Death in Paradise series, both on screen and in book form. So, in the end, I cut myself a piece of freshly made banana bread, poured a glass of milk, and immersed myself in The Marlow Murder Club.

The trio of protagonists were an odd bunch that instantly connected with each other and although each had their own struggles, they were definitely a force to be reckoned with. They were all endearing characters that had such vivid personalities.

Judith’s eccentricity stood out and was infectious; it was hard not to get swept along with her ideas. What made this an even more compelling read was the mystery that surrounded Judith, and how,  even though she was amazing, there was something that didn’t quite sit right. Becks had brilliant character development throughout; it was satisfying seeing her overcome her own obstacles as she challenged the changes life had thrown at her. Suzie could be described as being grounded and although she could be oblivious to people’s emotions and social protocol at times, she was also observant of details. 

One aspect that was really well done was that Judith, Becks and Suzie all contributed in some way or another to solving the mystery. The trio are soon joined by an over stretched DS Malik, who at first, was a little iffy. Once the story began to flesh out her personality, it was easy to sympathise with her situation and the position she had been put in. 

“…as far as I can see, she could be our killer.”

Beck’s eyes widened in amazement.

“That’s not posible, she does yoga!”

Although, it was ultimately Judith that put all the pieces of the puzzle together, she could not have done it without the others. Moreover, it was interesting to get brief glimpses of the other characters through the eyes of the other protagonists. However, it would have been more enjoyable had these glimpses been more than quick snatches of thoughts.

The writing itself was simplistic in nature and made this an easy, chilled read. The plot was fast paced with a handful of twists and clues that thrown in for good measure. Splashes of humour made some scenes truly laugh out loud moments. Under the protective comedic shell however, a deeper meaning could be found related to the serious issues that comes with aging. These were not dwelt on too much, yet there was still a serious undercurrent that stuck as the story progressed. The conclusion of the mystery was nicely tied up and everything made sense.

The Marlow Murder Club offered a well-crafted mystery with endearing, quirky characters.  The fast-paced plot and simple writing made this to be an enjoyable read.

Happy Solving,

Saz

P.S. Within minutes, the detective figured out what the murder weapon was. It was a brief case 😉

The Shape of Darkness

Sometimes a book can be sitting on the reading list for months at a time. And sometimes, just one glance at a new book is enough to automatically disregard all those that have been patiently waiting. This was one such book. As usual, before curling up to read this tale, I inhaled that ever-familiar bookish smell of ink and paper. Much to my disappointment, I can honestly say that the book smelt a lot better than what lay within. I had been expecting to be mesmerised (yes, pun intended) but this simply did not happen.

There was something lacking about this book. The two protagonists, Agnes and Pearl, didn’t seem to have distinctive personalities of their own and more often than not both seemed to meld into one another. Their voices were extremely similar to the point where it became difficult to distinguish between the two.  Neither Pearl nor Agnes were particularly likable, although it was difficult not to feel a little sympathetic towards both their circumstances.

There was an over emphasis on how fragile both females were throughout the narrative. Though both characters wanted to take matters in their own hands, tangibly they were helpless, and ended up being passive agents in the unfolding of events. This was frustrating to witness on several accounts, mainly because it highlighted the powerless nature of women during that era.

The plot moved at a sluggish pace and most of it was underwhelming by a large degree. So much so, that towards the end when the twist finally landed, as interesting as it was, it still wasn’t enough to lift the story. The revelations made did not have the desired effect; there was no feeling of surprise or shock. The concept of having a silhouette artist against the backdrop of murder was well done; however, the way it had played out on the page was not.

The ending left too many questions unanswered and was just as unsatisfying as the rest of the story. Excuse the brutal honesty, but it truly read as if it had been hurried and was rather lacklustre. There had been untapped potential after the interesting twist, which was completely wasted. After finishing the book, I could do nothing but sigh, whilst feeling a pang of disappointment.

During the course of the book, it felt like too many elements had been shoved in with the result that none of them were properly explored. In the end, enough detail had not been provided, meaning that justice had not been done to any of the elements such as the supernatural component or murder mystery. The descriptions weren’t vivid enough to create an appropriately eerie atmosphere. It was impossible to tell that the story had been set in Bath bar the scattered mentions of this by name.

Basically, the whole book was a disappointment from start to finish.  I kept waiting for it to get better, and before I knew it, the last page had been turned. Despite the premise being full of potential, the characters and plot left much to be desired.

Ciao,

Saz

P.S. How does a cow become invisible? By using caMOOflage 😉

A Meditation on Murder

After finishing ‘Song of Achilles’ I was in pursuit of a cosy crime or thriller that I could curl up with. Trouble was, I just couldn’t seem to settle on one and ended up wandering from book to book. This went on for a ridiculous amount of time until eventually I stumbled, quite by chance, on the Death in Paradise series. So long story short, I downloaded the first book on to my kindle (at this point, I did have my doubts), grabbed a mocha, curled myself up on the sofa and began to read. As per usual, I was most pleasantly surprised and before I knew it, I was completely hooked.

Right from the start, the murder was a puzzling one and grabbed my attention. The more clues that were uncovered, the more complicated it got. From clues that didn’t make sense to those that seemed too obvious, a mystery ensued; one that seemed impossible at times. Occasionally, the mystery dipped a little and the voices seemed to get monotone. However this did not last for long at all and did not detract away from the enjoyment of the puzzle. The writing style was not by any means perfect or skilful; it was rather simple and at times repetitive in explanations. Again, although a little frustrating, it did not take anything away from the pleasure of the mystery.

Despite being cantankerous at the best of times, Detective Inspector Richard Poole made for a brilliant protagonist. His grumpiness was almost endearing, as were his interactions with his team, especially Camille. It felt good to be able to see Richard’s more vulnerable side as the writing gave a proper insight into his mind.

“ Because in my experience when it comes to murder, there’s no such thing as a coincidence”

His team were made up of interesting characters and it was nice that each member had their own skill set which had been utilised to various degrees. At times it was disappointing as it was felt that Richard was doing all the work and his team were under utilised. But, given that this was the first book in what looks like a series, it was understandable.

The scorching heat and gorgeous scenery bled through the pages and the whole set up was appealing. Small details had been mentioned that added to the atmosphere and authenticity. The end scene was crafted beautifully where Richard reveals the murderer and how it was done. This was very much reminiscent of Poirot.

In a nutshell, this was a brilliant cosy murder mystery with all the right elements melded together to make an intriguing puzzle. It was a delightful read and I cannot wait come back to the rest of the series at some point. In the meantime, I think I’m going to give the TV series a go!

Saz

P.S. I once met an astronaut who was claustrophobic. Turns out he just needed some space 🙂