RogerBW's Blog

High Island Blues, Ann Cleeves 23 June 2017

1996 detective fiction; eighth and apparently last of Cleeves's novels of amateur private detectives George and Molly Palmer-Jones. George is commissioned to look into a possible charity fraud, then whipped off to Texas to assist an old birdwatching friend who's being accused of murder.

The small marsh-bound town of High Island, on the Texas coast, is the setting for most of this book, and it's a curiously odd fit for Cleeves' mannered style of writing; the hotel may be filled with British birders, but she still tries and mostly fails to give an American feel to the story.

As often in Cleeves' books, the answers lie in the past, with three former university friends getting back together twenty years after their months-long summer birding trip, and one of them soon to be murdered. Alas, though, it's mostly from George's viewpoint, with Molly stuck at home looking into the background of the victim, and quietly solving the case while George goes about getting nowhere.

Alas, as usually with Cleeves, everyone here is at least mildly broken and unpleasant, and one can't really feel much sympathy for the victim, or care when the murderer is caught in a climactic scene that doesn't fit well with the rest of the narrative.

It's all right, I suppose, and the writing is excellent as ever, but this one feels like a misstep after the previous two volumes.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1