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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something new on the crime front., 9 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The James Version (Paperback)
It is good to find a crime novel that is not urban police procedural/forensic pathology-based and which shuns graphic descriptions of brutality, often of torture. In other ways,too, this first novel is strikingly original, most particularly in developing the story through two interweaving narratives and in placing the events in a rural setting in the past. In addition the central character, the new incumbent as rector of a small Suffolk village community, is a convincingly odious character: self-absorbed, snobbish, envious and hypocritical. Ann Marten also begins as an interesting character, slowly exposing the secrets which help to advance the story. All indeed starts most promisingly. However, although in many ways I enjoyed this novel I can't quite go along with the rave reviews it seems to have attracted. It seems to me to weaken over the second half. Ann Marten loses her distinctive, largely self-educated style of utterance and falls into a neutral, rapid relaying of events. Inevitably, perhaps, the ending is all rather predictable and is not helped, I feel, by the broad melodrama - however characteristically Victorian. There are certainly no red herrings in Ms. Dugdall's sea. I would have liked to see her keep the reader guessing more, even throwing in a few false trails and surprises in the manner of Ann Cleeves, for example. Nonetheless, the strong sense of time and place and the willingness to stray from the well-trodden paths of detective fiction encourage looking forward to the author's next offering.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Nov 2012 19:21:58 GMT
Thank you for your review, which was considered and detailed. The James Version is, in fact, my first novel and it was self-published. After the success of my other novels my publisher decided to release it this year, so I am in the strange position of having my oldest book as my`latest`! It is so nice to think that I am reaching new readers.
Best wishes,
Ruth Dugdall

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Nov 2012 22:52:42 GMT
Thank you so much for your kind and most welcome words. it is quite an honour to hear directly from the author! I had no notion of the circumstances of the publication of The James Version, but having dipped a toe in the water I have now added your two other novels to my Amazon wish list and once I have come through a rather daunting Faulkner biography I shall take on the first, no doubt subsequently adding to my other reviews here.
warm regards
Donald Hart

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 09:57:30 GMT
I hope you enjoy them. Good luck with the Faulkner biography! Best wishes, Ruth Dugdall
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Location: Scotland

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