Author: Gervase Shorter
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 28, 2012)
Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the author, Gervase Shorter. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.
Ratings: ★ ★
This review is not for the entire book as I have only read the first 100+ pages. I tried reading this a number of times but I really could not get into the story. I thought the investigation to Larry Barlow's murder is too complex so the title is not right for me. I mean, if it is a crime fiction for the beginners, the story should be simple right? The story has too many characters and a lot of different situations are presented. I know they wouldn't be in the book for nothing but frankly, it was kind of a turn-off for me to read further. I had a hard time understanding how all the stories of the side characters and events are related in the murder.
About the book:
The story revolves around the investigation by attractive, blonde Detective Inspector Harriet Ware of the Met into the murder of Larry Barlow, a publisher found strangled in a Whitechapel alleyway but as the investigation proceeds the plot opens out to include the would-be authors whose work he arrogantly refused to publish and the books they are currently writing. The would be authors include Maud Jackson, who is writing romantic Regency fiction about how the aristocratic Lady Cynthia Cavendish-Harcourt foils the matrimonial intrigues of Jocelyne Bracegirdle, a nouveau riche rival, Hector Treadgold who is writing a science fiction epic in which the last survivors from Earth are making their way through space to the planet they mean to colonise, fighting off reptilian robots from the Ozkon empire en route and Juliet Transom who writes about her heroine Lohana's adventures and mystical experiences in former and future lives. A fourth author, Gregory Scofield, is rewriting a cold war thriller he wrote in the 80s.
As the murder investigation proceeds, Harriet interviews Larry's partners, wife, lawyer, mistress and wife's uncle and tries to guess what crucial information they are hiding. She reviews the autopsy and scene of the crime reports but they provide few clues. Then there is Larry's file of threats and hate letters. Were some of them written by disgruntled would-be authors or by someone else? Meanwhile, her assistant Jim Rose searches for the Chinese restaurant where Larry had dinner shortly before he was murdered. But, in this world of would-be writers, all is very far from being what it seems …
About the author:
Born in England, Gervase spent his military service hunting terrorists through the forests of Mount Kenya. After studying medieval history at Oxford he caught the Transiberian train to Vladivostok on his way to Japan, where he lived for four years. He travelled back to Europe overland and then spent three years in Lisbon, moving in 1973 to Rio de Janeiro where he now divides his time between an apartment overlooking the lagoon and a farm 3,000 feet up in the mountains where he grows bananas, avocados, persimmon and pecan nuts. He is married with four adult children.