Wow, this was really not good. I started listening to it on audiobook, and meant to DNF it, but my phone doesn't unlock while I'm in the car and I kept forgetting to pick a new book before driving off again. By the time I got home last night I was 90% finished and thought 'to hell with it', grabbed my print copy, and just finished it off.
What I didn't like:
Henry Fairhurst: He's sort of the co-MC of the book, along with Inspector Shelly. He's a damp, hen-pecked, Walter Middy sort of fellow; whingey too.
Henry's sister: every horrible stereotype about single women, crammed into one book. Truly a horrible character I would not be able to resist smacking in real life.
Inspector Shelly: the other MC of the book, the Scotland Yard Inspector that goes around not only theorising before the facts, but telling all involved in the case that they are the facts, never mind silly things like official coroner reports, or post-mortems, or blood analysis. Shelly says the man died of cyanide poisoning, then by golly, that's what he died of. And speaking of cause of death:
The cause of death: A man does not fall asleep in the British Museum Reading Room and peacefully die from cyanide poisoning mid-snore. The author was a contemporary of Agatha Christie; I hope she smacked him upside the head with his own book before setting him straight. Cyanide is a nasty way to die and I'm certain his snoring would have been the least offensive thing everyone in the Reading Room that day would have had to witness.
The writing: Rowland writes as though he imagines his reader to be an idiot, the result being his characters all sound like idiots. There are some very Dick and Jane moments in this book.
The plot: Let me put it this way: I read cozies, and I thought it was preposterous.
What I liked:
The cover. The title. The British Museum setting, which ended after page 24. I gave each 1/2 star, but it was all downhill from there.