fredag den 30. april 2010

Louise Doughty, Honey-Dew aka An English Murder (1998)

This British novel is the writer´s third. The genre is called satirical cozy, or cozy noir.

The peaceful environment in dusty Nether Bowston may point toward cozy mystery, but the story of Gemma Cowper who fails her O-levels and whose father is far too keen on protecting her against the world out there is unsettling. The tone and setting are old-fashioned, but surprisingly scary. And then both parents are stabbed to death, and Gemma vanishes.

The narrator, Alison Akenside, is a local journalist who lives close to the Cowpers. She has led a quiet single life, but she sees the murders as her one-time chance to have a scoop. And we soon learn that Alison and her family also have plenty of skeletons in the cupboard.

Unfortunately, the book is an uneven performance. On the plus side the first part and the environment are wonderfully sinister, and there is more psychological insight in the characters than in most cozies, but the ending is a bit of a let-down as there is not enough new information for my taste.

I bought the book myself. Reviewed for the 2010 Cozy Mystery Challenge # 3.

Bernadette´s review.

8 kommentarer:

lilly sagde ...

I don't think I've ever heard of cozy noir but I might try it, maybe even this book just to have an idea what it represents.

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this fine review. You actually captured my own thoughts about it quite well.

Bernadette in Australia sagde ...

I was a bit ho hum about this one too - I certainly can't remember enough to be able to work out the significance of the Honey Dew title - did it mean something?

Dorte H sagde ...

Lilly: I didn´t mind the ´noir´ bit the least, but I want some surprises in the ending, and there weren´t enough of those for my taste.

Margot: I think it is difficult to see what she intended with that book. I wonder if the others are the same way.

Bernadette: not anything I remember, at least (and I am not going to read it again to check it out!)

Kelly sagde ...

Hmmm... cozy noir. I bet a few I've read would fall into that category. I enjoy satire in a mystery. (or any book, for that matter)

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: it is probably a fairly common way of modernising the cozy mystery, but I won´t say the satirical part is her strongest side.

Beth F sagde ...

I like the idea of this one but I think I'll pass on it since it isn't fabulous. There are so many fun and good cozies to choose from.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth: what is really stupid about the book is that it could have been good if she had just kept a few things up her sleeve for the final chapter.