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text 2020-03-29 17:56
Reading progress update: I've read 100%. - that was fun - let's do it again.
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth

That was a fun read.


I really liked Hilary (although she shows poor taste in men). She made the book for me.


Henry... well it would be nice to think that his kind has become extinct but I doubt it. What turned me off most was that his starting point was disbelief. It so narcissistic that you want to send him for counselling or just slap him.


I thought some of the scenes - the one where Hilary goes to Henry for advice, the fog on the road, the confrontation in the Glasgow flat - were very well done.


The plot was clever enough to keep my interest.


Some of the exposition creaked and some of the repetition of data suggested that Wentworth assumed her reader's had very poor memories. 


Miss Silver seemed to be a deus ex machina who coughs a lot and likes to knit in public but I'm interested in seeing more of her.


I had a good time doing this. Shall we do another one next weekend?

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-03-29 17:10
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth,Diana Bishop
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth

Well, this was enjoyable.  As in some of Wentworth's other books, the mystery wasn't much to write home about (spoiler tags nevertheless, because at least one participant of the buddy read is still reading the book) --


the principal villains are known pretty much from the word "go", as is the way the whole thing was worked (there's one huge clue fairly early on which essentially gives the game away, and the false alibi is based on a trope that wasn't even new any longer when the book was first written); it's also clear that the fact that the guy currently languishing in prison is actually innocent of the crime; and so, too, in the "romance" compartment, it's being telegraphed literally from page 1 which one is the relationship we're following --

(spoiler show)


but at least Miss Silver makes more of an appearance than in book 1 (and she is decidedly more recognizable here as the character we know from later books than in book 1), and you can't help but love and root for Hilary, the female MC, and her "inner imp".  (The imp's poems had me laughing out loud -- every single one of them.)  Whatever made Hilary pick Henry, of all people, as her heart's desire beats me as much as everybody else in this buddy read; though I'll grant that he redeemed himself ever so slightly towards the end, and with liberal doses of frying pans and Hilary's imp I do see some hope for him ... he's just got learn to listen to his better / true instincts and not to what he believes others expect him to think and feel, and what therefore must be the "right" (i.e., socially acceptable) response.  (Incidentally, I loved how Diana Bishop in the audio version read the passages from inside Henry's head with an undeniably ironic subtext, thereby suggesting that Wentworth is mocking him for being the idiot he is.  This worked very well for me.)


Now having read the majority of the books in the series, I can also safely say I'm not a fan of "Wentworth does Gothic".  This book's "foggy road" episode was one of the better-executed examples, but I still wish she'd left "young heroine thoughtlessly puts herself in a sinister situation that she can't control (and which a wiser head would either have avoided or at least not entered alone)" behind at some point.  Unfortunately, that wasn't to be; almost every book of the series contains at least one example of this sort of thing.  So, unlike others in the buddy read, I'm not a fan of the "foggy road" episode.  Maybe if this had been the first book by Wentworth I read, I would feel different about it (and as I said, for what it's worth on its own, it's comparatively well done).  But as a recurring event in almost every book ... thank you, but no.


By and large, though, I enjoyed being back in Miss Silver's world -- I only missed Frank Abbott --, I still love how Wentworth creates characters, and this book is also a marked step up from Gray Mask; less reliant on tropes (even if some are still present), and for once, thankfully also devoid of TSTL females.


As a final side note, I wonder (have been wondering for a while) whether Wentworth ever heard from her contemporary / fellow mystery novelist and great-niece of Tennyson (the poet), F. Tennyson Jesse, on Miss Silver's unquestioning adoration of "Lord Tennyson".


(I already finished this book last night, btw, but life intervened earlier today, so I'm only getting around to posting my summary now.)

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text 2020-03-29 15:06
Reading progress update: I've read 62%.- well, that excitement was unexpected
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth

I’ve just read the incident on the fog-bound road. I thought that was well done and not at all what I was expecting. 


Hilary is the making of this novel. I love her imp and its rhymes.

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text 2020-03-29 12:24
Reading progress update: I've read 45%. - just spent a chapter inside Henry’s head...
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth

...and I retract thé Darcy comment.


The man thinks of Hilary as a a dog to be trained. My mother repeatedly gave me a piece of relationship advice that repelled me: «As you train your pup, you’ll have your dog. » I think someone gave Henry the same advice and he took it to heart.

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text 2020-03-29 10:51
Reading progress update: I've read 40%. - Is it just me, or is Henry playing Darcy to Hllary's Elizabeth Bennet?
The Case Is Closed - Patricia Wentworth

I've just read the beautifully written chapter where Hilary goes, with a mixture of reluctance and excitement, to talk over the case with Henry. It's a perfect RomCom chapter with that shows the fire and sparkle and strength and vulnerability that sets the best of those scenes apart from their not-quite-getting-it canned-laughter wannabe brethren.


I've seen from the post here that the consensus is that we don't like Henry or at least that we'll only like him after Hilary has knocked some of the sharp edges off.


I'd expected him to be a bore. I found him to be a young man who is trying to live up to someone else's view of what being a man means. He seemed quite human to me. A mansplainer, socially inept, emotionally distant on the outside and trying hard not to listen to his own emotions because he suspects they'll make him weaker rather than stronger - but those are all things he can get over with the right training.


As Hilary told me that she would refuse to be trampled by Henry's high horse and raised her chin to tell him that any wife would leave him or be broken by him, a light went on in my mind and I thought, "I recognise this: Henry is Darcy is a lounge suit and Hilary is Elizabeth Bennet with a little of the entitlement rubbed off".


What do you think?



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