Top critical review
Wanted to like this more
on 9 October 2013
I like historical crimes stories a lot, so when my mum found this one, I was looking forward to it. Straight up, I had a real problem with the way it was written. I found the sentence structuring really distracting - lots of sentences without either a verb or an object, and way, way, too many starting with 'and' or 'but'. I found the jumps in POV difficult to follow, and I found the way the plethora of characters were introduced, seemingly slotted in at random without context, really quite difficult to follow too. I almost gave up.
However, the subject-matter was intriguing and different enough to make me keep going - forensics in early Victorian times, and a crime that was complex, a veritable web of clues and non-clues, that kept me reading. The characters, I found, not so well-drawn, and in some cases verging on the stereotypical. There were no clear-cut 'baddies' or 'goodies', and it wasn't that they were all drawn in shades of grey, but that they all felt two-dimensional. The period detail, the historical research, the ambiance of the city in the grip of a winter freeze, and the atmospherics of the mortuary itself, however, made up for all these faults. As I said, I kept reading, and if you like period crime and want it with a bit of a twist, this one might be for you. There's another, I see, but I'm not sure that I'll be rushing to read it. Then again...