mandag den 15. november 2010

Brian Kavanagh, Capable of Murder (2005)

This Australian novel is the first Belinda Lawrence mystery. Belinda is invited to the West Country to visit her aunt Jane in Milford, near Bath.

But here is what meets her:
“As her eyes grew accustomed to the imperceptible light from the other room Belinda realised that only inches away, her aunt Jane´s deathly glazed eyes stared accusingly out of her decaying face.”

Aunt Jane has been dead for a week; apparently after a fall down the stairs. The odd thing is that the aunt seems to have sent off her letter to Belinda after her death.

On the train, Belinda meets an unusually clumsy young man, Jacob Aitkins, the local gardener, and when she inherits aunt Jane´s cottage, he becomes her nearest neighbour. She is not exactly impressed, but she quite likes his sister, Rosemary.

The story begins on a quite promising note, but unfortunately the plot is the best part even though it relies on a lot of coincidence. The village setting is very suitable for a cosy mystery, but the emphasis on atmosphere is often overdone in the form of dark and mysterious figures looming here and there.

The characters are not exactly well developed, and Belinda did not strike me as a patient or pleasant woman. Her discernment is not the best either so I can´t say she is the kind of protagonist I am burning to meet again.

This book was a free PDF version.

11 kommentarer:

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this review. I am sorry you didn't like this one more than you did. It's interesting how atmosphere can contribute or detract from a story... I also think it's really interesting to think about the effect of sub-genre on the kind of setting and atmosphere that work best for a story. Well, I don't think I will be in a big hurry to read this one...

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: I do make allowances for debuts, but the protagonist seemed so edgy and capricious that I can´t imagine any man - let alone two - would want to date her.

A Certain Book sagde ...

Thanks Dorte. I don't think I'll be checking this book out in a hurry either. I enjoyed your review though.

Dorte H sagde ...

Joanne: fortunately most of my reviews are more positive than this one, and I hope I wasn´t too harsh. The problem is that while I can forget about a weak plot if the characters are compelling, it is impossible for me to ignore characters that annoy me.

Kelly sagde ...

A shame. It sounded promising from the opening description. I guess it's a good thing they don't ALL sound wonderful, though. I'd never be able to read them all!!
:)

Clarissa Draper sagde ...

I don't like too much coincidence in my mysteries but I loved the cover. It's too bad because I loved the cover and the plot. How did you get it for free?
CD

Bernadette in Australia sagde ...

Belinda becomes much more likable in the second book but I can see why you wouldn't like her too much on this outing - I was a bit annoyed by her as well. I probably liked the book a little more than you but then I spent a couple of months doing my very own tour of Capability Brown gardens some years ago

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: I know what you mean. Sometimes I enjoy seeing a critical review, knowing I won´t feel I must buy this one.

Clarissa: I think it might have been the Australian publisher who offered some free books you could download for a few weeks last year.

Bernadette: there were some good and unusual plot ideas so it wasn´t all bad at all. It is just that I don´t have much patience with willy-nilly women.

A Certain Book sagde ...

Hi Dorte,

No, I don't think it was a harsh review at all. For me, attempting a first novel, I find reviews like this helpful - what I should avoid doing myself. I like an honest review too, and gosh, if they were all good, as Kelly says, we'd never be able to read them all! :)

Beth F sagde ...

At least it was free! Too bad it wasn't better.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth: I admit that I am more willing to take a risk with free or cheap books. You win some and lose some :D