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The Necessary Deaths (The Delingpole Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Dominic Delingpole is a small-town lawyer near Oxford, while his lover of several years, Jonathan McFadden, is a landscaper and sometime opera singer from Brighton. Both men are in their late thirties and while Dominic is closeted, Jonathan is very out and flirtatious. Because (it seems) their relationship is long distance (a bit over 100 miles, I checked) Jonathan refuses to be exclusive, which not only makes Dominic feel jealousy, but also feel guilty for feeling jealous. Both Dominic and Jonathan are intriguing characters, but I wanted to understand their motivations more. I believe that the author’s intention was to bring the men’s relationship to some sort of resolution by the end of the book, but the way he did it left me rather more confused than I was at the beginning. These boys (yes, because they could both be my sons) need to sit down and have a good talk.
The mystery that drags Dominic and Jonathan into an increasingly ugly mess involves a University of Brighton undergraduate named Simon Gregory who appears to have attempted suicide. Simon’s mother Samantha lives in Dominic’s elegant little apartment house, and it is Simon’s hospitalization that brings him to his lover’s bailiwick in Brighton. There he meets Simon’s housemates, including his college boyfriend, John Fraser. Everybody behaves badly except Simon’s mother Samantha, and I felt bad about her being stuck with a bunch of goofballs who kept making wrong choices and leaving her (quite unknowingly) in steadily more trouble.
The nefarious goings-on are marvelously lurid and implausible, and I won’t even touch on details so as not to spoil anything. The author shifts viewpoints multiple times, which would have worked better had it been more consistently applied. I found that the ending seemed weirdly rushed. I expected more definitive information and details about the resolution of the mystery; but the author suddenly shifted to an equally hurried realignment of Dominic and Jonathan’s relationship. This was all very romantic, but as it happened without any sort of ongoing dialogue between Dominic and Jonathan, it felt rather like it came out of the blue.
I think I want to read the next book when it comes out; then I’ll be able to decide how I feel about the first one.