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A Fair Mystery (Perfect Library)

por Charlotte Mary Brame

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Añadido recientemente porPhilSyphe

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Although I’m a fan of this author, I don’t rate this as one of her best novels. It’s a bit monotonous in its themes. For example, you rarely go beyond a paragraph without the narrator reminding the reader that Doris is beautiful.

Doris is an interesting character. She takes her beauty for granted, and considers herself a notch above everyone else. She’s selfish, ungrateful, and a stranger to empathy. You’re not meat to feel sympathy for her until the last chapter or two, though even then not all readers will soften towards her.

Doris’s foster sister Mattie is my favourite character, though she doesn’t feature that often in the story.

The story is patchy, at times lacking cohesion, and whilst I wouldn’t call it dull, it does lack the sparkle of certain other Brame/Clay novels.

I don’t think it was wise to call the lead male character Earle when you have another character who is an earl, particularly when they’re featured in the same scene. I assume the author chose the name to convey that Earle wasn’t of noble birth, but he was noble in character.

Even so, it doesn’t work well, especially with sentences like this:

“The earl had ridden down: Earle was prevented from going.”

What ultimately made me rate this three stars instead of four was owing to the number of times we encounter premonitions like this:

‘“I am so glad," yet she shivered again as she spoke. "I long to go to Linleigh, Earle, yet I have such a strange feeling about it, a strange presentiment, a foreboding."’

Not only is the dialogue in the above quote unrealistic, it’s more or less a spoiler. Doubtless the author was trying to create suspense, but when done this way all it does is tell the reader that something foreboding *will* happen. I can’t understand why any author would do this, as avid readers know that when a character/narrator predicts something will happen, it’s guaranteed to do so.

Same applies even more so with:

“If they could have had the faintest foreknowledge of that, the tragedy might have been averted.”

Because of the above quote, when “the tragedy” happens, it comes as no surprise. Without giving anything away, the scene that features the impending tragedy is excellent; however, it would’ve been better still if I didn’t know what would happen. Because of the quote above, the scene had no suspense; no uncertainty. The reader has no doubt what will happen owing to the narrator's advance warning. Had the author not spoiled what would happen, the scene’s outcome wouldn’t have been obvious, as several possibilities were at hand.

Overall, “A Fair Mystery” is good in parts but is lacking on the whole, with the biggest fault being the author’s inclusion of unnecessary spoilers. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Sep 16, 2020 |
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