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The Secret of Annexe 3 (Inspector Morse)
The Secret of Annexe 3 (Inspector Morse)
by Colin Dexter
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and delightful character development and character interplay coupled with cultured superb writing, 9 May 2014
A 4.5 star read, my first by this author. Superb character development. Juxtaposed against each other, the contrasting and deeply developed characters of Morse and Lewis (in many ways one as different from the other as the day from the night) and their unfolding relationship with each other are a delight to read. The characters and their interplay are cleverly and very skilfully developed through witty and sharp dialog and well written spells of internal monologue.

The characters dipped periodically into other minor characters' POVs and hopped through minor characters' heads unnecessarily, for which I take half a star off. These dips into and hops through POVs should have been edited out. I also wondered why one party of the pair was not arrested as accessory to the crime at the end, but allowed to go free because the author seemingly have a soft spot for this person. This would not happen in real life in England.

A few more minor mistakes: The police have master keys to any house in England and do not have to break down any doors. Every lock in England is manufactured or sold so that a set of master keys available to the police can open any door. Furthermore, no suspect can be questioned without first been given the Miranda warning, or their prosecution will fail. Also in a murder investigation generally the senior officer will lead the interviews.

The writing is superb and literary - at a level perfect for a mystery. The plot is layered and complex so that it keeps the reader guessing and on the edge of the seat all the time, but it is somewhat contrived at times. The prose as well as the plot is intellectual and cultured and the characters so deep that it got one really emotionally involved. A little humor makes one laugh out loud. I knew the story was great when about half way through the book it made me incapable of any other work and I had to lie to take a sick day off work to finish reading the book. So engrossing were the characters and the storyline I could not bear to put the book down for anything - even for my job or for meals.

Deep, delightful, and emotionally engaging character development is the best thing about this book. This is coupled with superb, cultured, and literary writing enhanced by a complex and intellectually challenging plot to deliver a cracking read. I have already bought 3 more books in the series to read soon.

The Closet (Summerset Tales #1)
The Closet (Summerset Tales #1)
Price: 0.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeously written story of love gone wrong with a twist, 23 Dec 2013
This short story is made of beautiful prose and poetic, exquisite imagery that really brings the scene alive for us. The prose grabs and transfers you to the beautifully described countryside at the onset of a rainstorm through which Duncan comes to his house hoping to find out about what his young wife is doing in his absence. We are right inside his head, feeling his passion and angst. Suddenly the gripping suspense turns to the dark side with the unexpected twist. Superb short. Definitely reminds me of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected.

Standing in Another Man's Grave: A John Rebus Novel
Standing in Another Man's Grave: A John Rebus Novel
Price: 3.95

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Rankins yet, 17 Nov 2013
The great morose maverick is back. I was so disappointed when Ian Rankin retired him with The Complaints. One of his best books and my favorite read this year. I particularly love how the author builds tension, and his descriptive prose paints Edinburgh before our eyes. His supporting characters are very entertaining.

The Reckless Engineer
The Reckless Engineer

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relentlessly Mounting Suspense, 17 Nov 2013
I discovered this author through his first short story written as a prelude to The Reckless Engineer. I was pulled in and captivated by both stories with the very first sentence from which the author builds suspense relentlessly to a nail-biting crescendo of tension. Both stories look at the troubles the respective protagonist gets into because he is weak in love. While the first book is right inside the protagonist's head telling us how it feels for him, this one reveals the impact of the love affair mainly from the viewpoints of all the people around him.

As for the mystery, let us just say John Grisham meets Agatha Christie in this one. The woman our protagonist, Jack Connor, (who seems to be a bit of a weasel, by the way) had been involved with has been found dead and Jack has been arrested for the murder. The story begins with Jack making his one phone call from the police station to his old-time friend Jeremy, our amateur detective hero and series lead. Jeremy arrives in Portsmouth bringing Harry, a top defence lawyer to the rich and famous in London, to handle Jack's defence in the murder trial. While Harry runs a brilliant defense, Jeremy blends in with Jack's family and colleagues who all seem to have their own sinister motives and opportunities to have committed the murder in a tightly woven plot.

This author seems to be a master of the unexpected twist because I never saw the ending of either story coming even though the clues were right in front of my eyes, each time. The language is poetic, beautiful, and lovingly descriptive of the English seaside town, Portsmouth, the story is set in. And everything is fresh and original - the premise, the plot, the characters, the language, the imagery... everything. Nothing about this author's writing is cliché. I eagerly await his next story.

Jack Connor (and whoever he was carrying on with by extension) are all being punished severely with dire consequences for cheating from the start because this is a moral story of "Follies of Infidelity and Betrayal". In the end Jack learns his lessons the hard way and gets back with his first wife and his children, doing the right thing and completing the central morality of the story. According to the central morality of the story the narrator and everyone else ridicule and condemn the follies of Jack's betrayal, starting with the title of the book. It is a deeply moral story with a strong moral message in it.

Caitlin was getting divorced from Jack and getting together with her daughter's father (her first partner) because of Jack's infidelity which story I loved. Totally the right thing because they were forcefully separated and she was haunted by her lost love.

They go back to their first marriages and family with children in the end and live happily, giving us the perfect moral ending. It looks at how infidelity takes root and happens in the middle. This is the perfect story of delights and hope for anyone who has suffered a break-up of a relationship.

Everyone else who are couples are in long term stable marriages - Douglas and Leana MacAllen in a decades long loving and loyal marriage and severely condemning Jack's behavior; Attorney Harry Stavers a very stable, steady, and loyal family man. Jeremy is not in a relationship, broken up, trying to get together with his ex and finally moving on by finding his own love. Alan is single and trying to find his own love with Sally, staying very steady and loyal to Sally. Even the minor characters, like Skull, are in a loyal marriage with children they love. In fact, everyone else is either in a loyal marriage or single.

The only way to tell a story of strong morality like this one that condemns infidelity and betrayal is to have one character who is cheating and he and the persons he was cheating with being subject to horrifying punishments, troubles, and consequences throughout like here - like being killed (as in the book), being charged with murder (like here), getting fired, or going to prison like happens here - their worlds falling apart and because of their wrong actions. Having the narrator (and everyone else around him) hating, condemning, and ridiculing the cheating and the character used to convey the morality from the beginning to the end, starting with the title. They learn a severe lesson and do the perfectly right thing in the end, completing the moral message of the story.

I love that this is not just a shallowly plotted thriller, but a story with a deeply moral message too.

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