TBR Pile Reads in Mini-Reviews

June 17, 2020 Uncategorized 4 ★★★★

TBR Pile Reads in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Magpie Murders
Author: Anthony Horowitz
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

This is the first book I picked up for the TBR Jar Read-a-thon and also the best. It’s a delightfully meta story in which the author of a murder mystery novel dies and his editor suspects that has actually been murdered. Two things really made this book work for me. First, the novel within a novel. After several chapters of the editor’s narration, we actually get to read the mystery novel she was editing when the author died. The entire thing! What a gutsy, original move to write a book that revolves around a mystery novel and than just write that whole book too. The novel within the novel was also just a delightful read, that at times perfectly captured the feel of an Agatha Christie novel. Second, the framing story was narrated by such a likable, relatable character. The editor’s love of reading and the way she stumbled into investigating the author’s death helped me enjoy her story just as much as the nested novel.

TBR Pile Reads in Mini-ReviewsTitle: The Tulip Eaters
Author: Antoinette van Heugten
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Unfortunately, this is a book that I was right to let languish on my to-read pile. This story about a woman who finds her mother murdered and her child kidnapped has a pretty dramatic setup. Somehow, though, the writing still managed to be more dramatic than the situation called for. At other times the writing just felt stiff. I especially noticed constant, weird references to people’s eye color during situations when no one would be noticing someone else’s eyes. Although I was impressed that the author managed to maintain some suspense, despite showing us the kidnapper’s perspective, the plot relied too heavily on coincidence and protagonist stupidity to be truly enjoyable.

TBR Pile Reads in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Bristol House: A Novel
Author: Beverly Swerling
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

This book was somewhere in between the previous two. That’s because it was a mixed bag, with writing that worked for me and a plot that didn’t. The writing was incredibly detailed. I loved the charming, cozy descriptions of different British restaurants and cultural institutions. I loved that we got snippets of music and news that were playing, helping me picture each scene. I loved that we got details like the main character’s thesis title, explained in such a way that I felt the author had really done her research. The plot, on the other hand, was too complex and, like The Tulip Eaters, required too many coincidences to work. At least some of these coincidences were explained by a supernatural element, but that wasn’t enough to win me over. And while the main character certainly made some effort to unravel the central mystery, I felt like most progress happened to her, rather than being driven by her. I’d definitely give this author another try though. The writing was just that good.

4 Responses to “TBR Pile Reads in Mini-Reviews”

    • DoingDewey

      Oh you’re right, quite similar! Not quite as bad as covers that seem to have actually used the same picture, but certainly a similar idea.

      I’d definitely recommend Magpie Murders, especially if you like Agatha Christie 🙂
      DoingDewey recently posted…WWII Fiction/Nonfiction TrioMy Profile

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