The Catherine Wheel
Author: Patricia Wentworth | Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Patricia Wentworth is one of my grandmother’s favourite authors and, while I generally love classic crime fiction from this era, I just didn’t enjoy this book. I really wanted to, but I found myself a bit lost as to who was who and why they were there because there were just so many characters! I was confused about who Miss Silver actually was, she seemed to have no connection to the police – and yet had been unofficially dispatched by them to investigate a crime? Why? Maybe this is covered in another book and I just missed it. I didn’t warm to the characters or feel any urgent need to solve the mystery, there was no grave peril, no twists, and the pacing was very slow.
The Catherine Wheel might have gotten better if I kept reading, but I’m afraid I lost interest and dropped it a quarter of the way through! I’m sticking to Josephine Tey and Agatha Christie in future.
The Priory of the Orange Tree
Author: Samantha Shannon | Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
The Priory of the Orange Tree is a mammoth undertaking. It’s a huge tome of a thing. While I very much appreciated the worldbuilding and the story was well plotted and compelling, at the start, I didn’t find the characters overly interesting and the constant switching of perspectives impacted my connection to their stories.
I tried several times to complete it, but the middle of the book was just too slow and, by that point, I’d always lost interest. This is a DNF for me.
The Iron Ghost
Author: Jen Williams | Publisher: Headline
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Copper Promise, but The Iron Ghost unfortunately didn’t live up to expectations. I love the characters and the worldbuilding is fantastic. I even think the story, a sort of madcap crime adventure, is good. But the author added in multiple perspectives, which didn’t work for me, and the constant explaining of feelings and subplot slowed it down too much. I lost interest and, after giving a real go (because I genuinely wanted to like it), I’m afraid it hit the DNF pile!
Master of War: Gate of the Dead
Author: David Gilman | Publisher: Head of Zeus
The premise for Master of War seemed good, and the story was reasonably interesting. Unfortunately, the execution let it down. A lot of “tell”, very little “show” and almost no scene descriptions (or adjectives of any kind). Also, the constant back and forth between the characters about big, juicy women who are just there to keep them warm… So gross. It was all very Carry On film. I kept waiting for one of the characters to say “ooo Matron” in a suggestive tone and wink. Note to self: when the praise for the book comes from the Daily Mail – heed the red flag.
Birds, Beasts and Relatives
Author: Gerald Durrell | Publisher: Penguin
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, My Family and Other Animals; eventually. It was hard going at first. I’m sure I would have, eventually, liked Birds, Beast and Relatives. Probably. But it starts off as a slog, and I just couldn’t… I just don’t have the energy right now for that. It’s nothing against this book, but it’s slow going at first until you’re more invested in the characters and the stories. I read the first one. I’ve done my time. It’s a DNF – though, I don’t rule out picking it up again later.