logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: murder-most-foul
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-14 20:41
The Witch Elm
The Witch Elm - Tana French

Well first things first, don't go into this expecting the Dublin Murder Squad. This is a standalone by Tana French. We do get detectives in this one, but one wonders if the next book will follow the squad again and if this story will be discussed on the periphery. This not being a Dublin Murder squad book is not why I gave this three stars though. The story told her is disjointed (purposely due to Toby's injuries) but if it was just that it may have worked. I think the biggest issue I had was the way that Toby finds out the truth (during the world's most boring info-dump) and then the ending that made zero sense after a while.

 

 

"The Witch Elm" told in the first person, follows Toby who is a bright eyed and bushy tailed 28 year old guy in PR at a small art gallery. He is in a long-term happy relationship with his girlfriend Melissa and he has two best friends. Deciding to skip going to his girlfriend's house one night after being out with his two best friends causes Toby's life to twist into something new. Going home causes him to fall asleep and then wake to two men burglarizing his apartment. Toby decides to fight back and is beaten almost to death. When he wakes he finds out he is going to need time to recover. However, Toby post burglary is different. He can barely stand to be touched, he picks fights with his mother, he can barely even be around his girlfriend. When his cousin tells him that their Uncle Hugo is dying of an inoperable cancer she asks that Toby go stay with him and help him. Toby and Melissa go and stay with Hugo, and things at times seem to be getting better until a skull is found in Hugo's back garden in a witch elm tree. FYI, they spell witch wych throughout the book and it kept throwing me every time.  

 

Toby reminds me on the surface level of Rob from "Into the Woods." Two male characters who don't recollect huge pockets of their lives. Rob was left scarred by what happened to him in the woods. He never does recall what happened and French gives no hint what fate befell his two friends. Rob doesn't truly recover from his childhood and in the end because he didn't want to face things, he ruined his career and his friendship with his ex-partner Cassie. 


Toby is in PR for an art gallery and things are going okay for him, though he's quite lucky he wasn't fired from his job after his boss caught him in a lie about an artist. Going out drinking with his two friends, Sean and Dec he is giddy with relief about not being fired and getting away with what he has done. There at the beginning we are given glimpses into Toby. A 28 year old guy who doesn't seem to realize that his actions have true consequences. He sees his best friend Dec as being jealous of him and feeling terrible because of his background. He never sees that he should grow up and think about others around him. After the burglary we see Toby change, but often at times while reading this I wondered how much he truly changed. He had physical difficulties, but the same cluelessness that seemed to be in him from the time he was a kid was still there as an adult. I don't think that I liked him much in retrospect. When Toby starts playing detective it really doesn't make a lot of sense to me as a reader. And Toby doesn't find out things by investigating, he just gets people drunk or high and starts asking questions. I don't know, something was missing from this book that I get from the Dublin Murder Squad books.

 

The other characters don't really jibe that well in this one either. Melissa works better than most of the other secondary characters. I just thought Toby dismisses her throughout the story, though he's painted as being very in love with her. 

 

Toby's family felt a bit confusing to me at first. I honestly needed a chart after we do get to meet all of them. I wish that we had more details about Uncle Hugo. Considering what a huge role this character had to play due to Toby staying at this home, his parts that focused on genealogy felt a bit off at times. Susana and Leo are developed a bit more, but in the end what we know of them doesn't work the whole way when you think about the ending. 

 

As I said above we do get detectives in this one, actually two sets. The first we meet due to Toby's attack, and the next due to the police being called after the skull is found in the witch elm tree. The detectives don't work for me throughout this book. The ones investigating Toby's burglary and beating seemed like an after thought and joke The ones investigating the probable murder didn't seem very solid to me.

 

The writing was okay, I just though the story after a while started to get disjointed. Due to Toby's memory issue a lot of times things are just being told to him. I just wish that there was another way besides constant information dumps to have Toby find out something. And then in the end we do have him remember something and it absolutely didn't even make sense why he would remember this one incident after everything else was a black hole. 

 

The flow was up and down throughout the book. 

 

The setting of the book takes place at Toby's paternal family's home called "The Ivy House". Honestly I wonder why the book wasn't just called that. The home sounded very real and about 90 percent of the book takes place at this location.  

 

The ending as I already said doesn't work for me. Maybe if French had changed the ending (cannot get into it without spoilers) it would have worked for me. It just all felt a bit too far fetched to me. And as I said above, it doesn't help that Toby reminded me of Rob. 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-09-24 17:47
The Hollow Man
The Hollow Man - John Dickson Carr

Even though I was having eye problems last night, I stupidly stayed up to finish this book. It was so good. So many twists and turns and a perfect locked room murder mystery. It reminded me a bit of "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders" as well as "The Murder at the Vicarage" that you have something that is supposedly impossible, becoming possible. The ending was top notch with all revealed after two (I think there were two) red herrings. Loved this book.

 

Professor Charles Grimaud is confronted by a mysterious man come across him and soem of his friends who claims that men can arise from the grave and walk through walls. Not going to lie here, was a bit confused where Carr was taking us. But all is explained later on to my and potential readers satisfaction.

The man, illusionist Pierre Fley claims that he himself has arisen from a grave and threatens Grimaud by saying that his brother wants him dead. We then follow a few days later and found that Grimaud has been shot and left to die in a room that a man entered and did not leave. When Dr. Gideon Fell and Superintendent Hadley come onto the scene, the question is how did the professor get shot and the would be murderer get away with no one seeing them? Also there are no footprints in the snow so how did the person get away? Did they fly? Believe me I spent most of this book trying out different solutions and was wrong with all of them. Good luck to you if you manage to figure this out.

 

I don't want to spoil anymore of the plot cause so much happens that at times you are going to go wait a minute? What? And have to go back and re-read. 


I loved the writing though at times the story gets a bit bogged down with Fell trying to tell Hadley what he has wrong or telling Hadley that he himself was wrong. I maybe went what a few times. The flow gets better after we get to Grimaud being shot. Not going to lie, the first part confused the life out of me so had to start the story twice in order to get a better sense of people that were being named. 


Carr includes diagrams of the room prior to the solution being provided and another diagram after the solution is provided which I totally got a kick out of. 

 

The ending surprised the heck out of me though. I was expecting another paragraph or something, but nothing doing. 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-09-24 02:20
Reading progress update: I've read 84 out of 224 pages.
The Hollow Man - John Dickson Carr

My left eye is starting to bother me so I’m going to try to read for a bit and sleep.

 

So this is a cool locked room mystery with a drawing. I’ve gone over the facts I know at present and still can’t figure this out. Dr. Fell is hilarious and Hadley is going to throttle him soon. This book weirdly links Transylvania and the tale of Dracula.

 

 

 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-09-23 20:54
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 224 pages.
The Hollow Man - John Dickson Carr

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-09-09 22:34
Halloween Bingo Update - five books read and a new book found.

20180909 Halloween Bingo.001

Brat farrar

I've finished Brat Farrar for the Murder Most Foul square. What a remarkable book. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it. I'll ponder it and then write a review.

 

The square hasn't been called yet but I followed my fancy with this one.

 

 

 

 

high-lonesome-sound

 

I'm about half-way through the "High Lonesome Sound" for the New Release square. It had a slightly patchy start and suffered more than a little by comparison to  Josephine Tey's prose but it's getting into its stride now.

 

 

 

 

 

The ElelmentatlsThe Southern Gothic square has just been called. I'm looking forward to reading The Elementals for this, but I'm going to wait a while because today, I found an audiobook version of "The Picture Of Dorian Gray" read by Stephen Fry.

 

 

 

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

 

He's the perfect choice of narrator for this story about the impact of decadence by Oscar Wilde. I've decided that it will be a much better fit for the Darkest London square than my original choice of Barbara Nadel's "A Private Business". I can't wait to start it. The Elementals will still be there when I'm done. 

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?