- File Size: 1581 KB
- Print Length: 160 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 151764030X
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: December 11, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B019AO3EQ8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,045 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Case of the Hidden Flame (An Inspector David Graham Mystery Book 2) Kindle Edition
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"Inspector Graham has come of age."
From the Author
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As noted above, I got this book without cost. On that basis, I didn't have high expectations; however it was much better than I expected. You can see from the title that this is a British mystery. I don't really consider it a cozy since it doesn't involve pets, cooking or crafts, or any of the other interests that I feel are in the "cozy" category. In fact, it is best described as a police procedural.
The book starts with Detective Inspector David Graham's arrival as the head of the police station on the island of Jersey. Awaiting him are a Detective Sergeant and two fairly inept constables. As might be expected, a newly discovered body soon joins the cast of characters. As DI Graham says, "We’re officially in a murder inquiry. And,” he added with a quirky smile, “I’m not even jolly well unpacked yet. Who ever said that Jersey was some quiet little island?"
The book then covers the usual search for means, motives and opportunities, concluding with the standard mystery conclusion wherein the DI gathers all the suspects and unveils which of them is the culprit. (We all understand, don't we, that this type of scene never occurs in real life?)
The weak point of the book is that the characters are all pretty flat. I recall nothing about the Sergeant is her gender and I had trouble recalling which name went with which Constable, A rewrite with some character development would raise my rating a full point.
Despite this disappointment I enjoyed the first part of this book--the characters are funny and interesting, although there was a lot of switching, without warning, from one character's thinking to the next. I was prepared to like DI Graham, too, but was put off by the author trying to tell us what to believe about him, rather than showing. Especially since what she told us didn't match what we were shown of his character.
For instance, we are told, rather than shown, that DI Graham is "surprisingly sophisticated." (Why is it surprising? And what does he do that's sophisticated?) He's also "a cultured, interesting, competent, charming man." All we know about this guy at this point by his behavior is that he does what every other cop would do heading a murder investigation, he drinks tea, and his female sergeant has the insta hots for him. We're not shown any culture or charm--in fact, we're shown the opposite when he uses crude language and describes the murder victim as "dead as a dodo."
In addition, he has a habit of ignoring people when they're in conversation with him, and all the characters mentally bend over backwards to excuse him and assure the reader that he's not being rude, not really. It's obvious the author is in love with her creation and wants us to be, too, but it's also obvious that she isn't doing a good job of showing him to be a P.D. James-type hero. This is no Adam Dalgliesh by any means. I find him mildly obnoxious and self-involved. However, it doesn't seem to impact the story too much. I read to the end and had moments of enjoyment.
But this brings us to the ending of the story which is very lame. There is no real possibility of the reader guessing whodunnit because the author keeps all the clues hidden and only in the detective's mind, which he graciously shares with us as the truth comes out. This isn't playing fair and makes the ending seem "made up" and not very believable.
On the plus side, the over all story is well-written and the pages turn quickly. She has some inspired moments of description as well, such as when she describes a character as having "thick, black hair that made its own decisions." It's worth it to read the book for moments like these alone. Here's hoping the series improves in the upcoming books because she has a ton of potential.
Top international reviews
There are several other 'long-termers' at the Inn, and they and the staff are all quizzed as to their whereabouts, once the coroner's ascertained the time of death.
Their relationships to the victim, plus other secrets they'd rather keep to themselves but relating to the unusual cause of death are cleverly revealed.
Once more Alison Golden has shown she's a worthy contender for the title 'Cozy' Queen of Fiction; with her entertaining portraits of all the characters, which makes this a quick and enjoyable read.
But I shall also start reading some of her other books.
This time I did have an inkling on carried out the dastardly dead, however it still made for a very pleasant way of spending a few hours.
This is purely for die hard cosy crime fans. There's even an "I've gathered you here on the veranda to tell you who killed Professor Plum," scene.
For fans of 'Death in Paradise' and Agatha Christie only.