A friend gave me a copy of this and I made the mistake of looking inside. Then there I was up late, unable to put it down. Finished it in two days, so definitely there were things to like about it. I’m not sure why I felt the end was something of a let down. Because there weren’t enough suspects? Because we never find out why “Doon”? People usually get nicknames from somewhere. I was expecting an explanation. If I just missed it, let me know.
There’s no heart-shaped charm in the story either. It begins when a man reports his wife missing in a small town in England. There seems absolutely no reason to kill her and yet passing psychopath never seems to enter their thoughts. They investigate, find the body, keep investigating and eventually find some books given to the woman inscribed to “Minna” with love from “Doon.” The only interesting thing to ever happen to her, apparently. They were poor and yet she doesn’t seem to have applied for a job although she was working before they moved to this little town. She doesn’t seem to have liked books or done anything besides clean and cook in the last six months. Incredibly dull life. Or was it? As I say, I couldn’t put it down for the first 2/3, though why I can’t quite explain. And it was very good for a first novel (probably because it was actually her eighth, though none of the earlier ones were published.) I can’t decide whether to go on with her or not. The whole psychologically truthful business doesn’t interest me much. When I want to read about the criminal mentality, I read about actual criminals. I always have some doubts about novelists and imaginary criminals. Not that it seemed unrealistic, I just didn’t care and I think when you’re writing suspense, it’s important that the reader care. Rendell hated Christie for her lack of realism, but that’s exactly what I like. Christie wrote puzzles, whodunnits, they weren’t psychological studies of criminal behavior. It’s a game. See if you can guess the criminal before the reveal. I think it’s too bad there aren’t more like her. I generally get enough realism in reality.