Saturday, December 17, 2011
Review: The Cradle in the Grave
The Cradle in the Grave by Sophie Hannah
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
From my understanding, this is the ARC of A Room Swept White, book 5 of the Spilling CID series. I have not read the 'final' print, so all comments pertain to this version of the novel.
I have noticed that many British authors fall into what I refer to as the Jane Austen Syndrome: it takes about 200+ pages before anything really interesting happens, although when it does it's damned interesting. P.D. James had the same problem in The Private Patient. This doesn't mean it's written badly, just not in the style an impatient American with Aries rising normally appreciates.
Fortunately, this was offset by the 'documentary' presentation of the original crimes and interviews with the women convicted of the child murders. I love true crime and reading the 'paperwork' involved, so this provided me with an early source of satisfaction that carried me until the heroine became interesting, too.
I was not at all sold on the relationship between Fliss and Natrass. Oh, I can believe he was a jerk, but I really don't understand how her ('her' being Fliss) attraction to Natrass particularly enhanced the storyline. I found Simon's dogged determination to hate his boss much more compelling. His outrage and mixed feelings upon finding himself on the same 'side' as his detested supervisor were very human and understandable.
Each of the bodies is found with a list of sixteen digits - four rows by four columns. When the solution to that clue came, I found it surprising and satisfactory.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but think it might have been better without the viewpoint of Fliss Benson at all. Perhaps, if they had revealed certain aspects of her background earlier, I would not feel that way. I have read that the final version was a superior manuscript. I hope so.
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