Customer Review

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but poor pacing makes for verbosity., 8 Jun 2014
This review is from: A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes) (Paperback)
It is hard to know how to review this novel. At one level want to review it as one might review a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, but that would be unfair as the novel is not that sort of book. On the other hand Holmes is more than just a bit player, along with Russell, he is a major protagonist, albeit one who appears only briefly, but is present in throughout the novel, even if only by implication. Thus it is a Sherlock Holmes novel of sorts, even if it is more outwardly complex than a simple pastiche.

However, my main reason for giving a mere one star is not because it fails to meet my expectations as a pastiche, but because of its verbosity, a verbosity that hides very little real action for much of the novel. We are given the minutiae of Russell's inner and outer life, but little of this contributes to the actual story or its development. Finding the narrative thread is like trying to locate the needle in a proverbial haystack and this makes reading it tedious, a chore rather than a joy.to read. Here I am forced to compare it to Conan Doyle, or many other crime writers, where they keep the narrative crisp and to the point (which is incidentally why Sherlock Holmes works far better in short story form rather than as novellas). That said, King cannot be faulted for her writing style, which is excellent, more for the pacing of the novel.

Being a Sherlock aficionado I had hoped to continue in reading the Russell novels, however I now feel that this pleasure is denied to me, given the poor quality of the narrative flow.
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Location: London

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