Andrew Taylor, “The Four Last Things”

Am I spoiled? Here’s a perfectly good literate murder mystery set in London, with an Anglican vicar as a protagonist, and I’m faintly disappointed. Well, if I am spoiled, it’s Andrew Taylor’s fault, because his Bleeding Heart Square was so terrific that my expectations were perhaps a bit high. So let’s damp them down — this is really Ruth Rendell territory, with a criminal who does terrible things to children and her sidekick who fantasizes about doing less-terrible things. Maybe this is the source of my faint discontent, because Taylor backs off, giving us a tolerable ending in traditional restoration-of-order form. I should be glad, right? Because half the time I’m too creeped out by Rendell to even read her novels, which are hugely unsettling.  I should certainly be happy to have found someone who’s turned out a string of readable traditional English mysteries, and I am, I am. I’m now launched on The Judgement of Strangers which, involving as it does some of the same characters, may make for a richer experience. It’s just that The Four Last Things felt a little bit thin.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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