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Past Mortem Paperback – May 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 459 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552771236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552771238
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,075,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Winner of The Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award (for Popcorn) and author of the international mega-seller Dead Famous—Ben Elton is also well-known as a comedian, the scriptwriter for the British cult television series “Blackadder,” the playwright of three West End hits, and the author of a number of international best-sellers, including the prize-winning High Society.

About the Author

Ben Elton is one of Britain's most provocative and entertaining writers. From celebrity to climate change, from the First World War to the end of the world, his books give his unique perspective on some of the most controversial topics of our time. He has written twelve major bestsellers, including Stark, Popcorn, Inconceivable (filmed as Maybe Baby, which he also directed), Dead Famous, High Society (WH Smith People's Choice Award 2003) and The First Casualty. He has also written some of television's most popular and incisive comedy, including The Young Ones, Blackadder and The Man From Auntie. His stage work includes three West End plays and the hit musicals The Beautiful Game and We Will Rock You. He is married with three children.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Shepherd on June 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read and enjoyed a number of Ben Elton's works, and I don't feel this to be one of his better ones.

Elton tends to take a particular social or environmental issue, and then uses a story to barrage the reader with his trendy and enlightened perspective. Usually he gets away with this - his stories can make a rollicking good read, and the underlying social commentary can be stimulating and thought-provoking.

But in this book I was bored. The social issue he's taken on is bullying, and I really don't need to be told the bleeding obvious - bullying is bad, it's effects are long-lasting, and we should all feel guilty because at one point we watched it happen to someone else and didn't do anything. OK, I get the point Ben, you can stop repeating it. I enjoy it more when he tackles the genuinely contentious issues - "High Society" being my definite favourite.

It isn't a great whodunnit either. I'm not particularly cluey with these things, but here I could pick the murderer as soon as [he or she] was introduced. The trail of bodies gets tedious when you're just waiting for the main character to figure it out.

On the plus side, I enjoyed the school reunion and all of the apsects of revisiting the past. He conjured up the memories of being a teenager in the 80's very well. If he only explored that whole area more I would have had a better reading experience.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Bowker on January 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Just recently I'd received Past-mortem for Christmas and only hours ago finished reading it. I didn't start reading straight away, but about a week ago, now a week has passed and I have to say it is one of the best crime fiction novels I've read. The blend of crime, sex and romance is flawless, the characters are real and the investigation draws you in and keeps you guessing right to the end. Well I managed to guess the obvious...but the obvious could be different for anybody.

Edward Newson is both on the case of brutal murder as well has his lonely, uneventful life. He lives day by day trying to track down the killer whilst mulling over his junior partner he secretly love, and by night attempts to track down an old girlfriend of his youth over the internet on Friends Reunited. As the story progresses, the killer strikes again, and Edwards old class comes together, "old feuds and passions burn fiercely again."

This is not a novel for the faint heart due to the gory content and extreme sex-capades Ben Elton has added to the book. But it is an easy read, the writing driving head first into the story and not wasting time with bland description, keeping the book to 300 odd pages but 300 pages of worth while story and character development.

Ben Elton is one of the finest writers of this age.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mr spillsy on June 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
A brilliant read - I read it in 2 sittings (and I'm not refering to the toilet).

Having read all of his books (with the exception of STARK would you believe!) I continue to be engrossed in them. They all flow with the same fluid 'not reading but watching tele' ease.

Past Mortem is no exception and it is truely a book you cant put down. The sex scene with Ed and Helen had me in stitches. Rather than a turn on, Elton turned it into a hilarious chapter. Ed fumbling 'oh...ok' to a rather bizzare request had me rolling!

Yes, there are gruesome details but in the hands of Ben Elton those details do not so much as shock but add to the colour of the story. In any other crime writers hands, the way the murders were committed would be shocking to the point of sick.

The only gripe I have about the book is the ending. It did get very predictable and you cant help but know who the killer is. There are so many clues it becomes too obvious. Infact, it becomes so obvious you begin to wonder if its actually not that character at all. The ending is also weak. The plot to catch the killer is weak and rushed. The end is over way too soon.

But dont let that put you off in the slightest. Its one of his best. I do kind of miss 'wrrrick' though!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A reader on August 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I always pick 2 novels to take on my annual 2 week holiday and read one in each week ( I take my time). So this year I picked Past Mortem (along with You Are Here by Steve Horsfall). I have never read a book by Ben Elton before, but this blew me away - it's funny, touching and risque with a great comment on how the past catches us all up at some point ( centred in this case around the Friends Reunited phenomenom). The whodunnit leaves you guessing to the end. I read it in 2 days ( and You Are Here in 3). I'll need to buy more books next year!!!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Ben Elton can certainly write -- but this one's a dud.

If you're an Elton fan, you'll already know that his "formula" relies on taking a controversial issue, and presenting it to us sideways, through the eyes of some unforgettable characters. In previous novels, he's dealt with drugs, the environment, and traffic, (High Society, Stark, Gridlock) and they were all great reads.

In this novel he slips up, because the "issue" he chooses is bullying -- which of course is an issue that no-one "disagrees" on. Unlike drugs or the environment or even driving around in cars, we all agree that bullying is bad and should be stopped. Elton has stepped away from his winning formula, and the results are substandard.

Not even Elton's trademark quirky characters can save the story, his "socially inept but brilliant detective" and his "emotionally damaged but brilliant social worker" are straight from central casting.

And then there's the "crime novel" format. If you haven't guessed "whodunnit" by page 130, then quite honestly you're not paying attention. Out of the twenty-two people I know who've read the novel (the members of two book groups) only one didn't guess who the serial killer was well before the end. Guessing the ending completely destroys the last half of the book, and makes finishing it a chore.

I enjoy Ben Elton's work -- I'll buy his next novel if it's not another attempt at crime fiction -- but this one's a predictable and preachy bore.
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