I’m going to blame my failure to finish this book on the fact that I was listening to the audiobook during a particularly busy period at home and at work. My breaks between listening sessions were too long, so long that I forgot the names of the characters, and couldn’t follow the action. I also missed some organizational clues. In the beginning, a murder has already happened; that’s what summons Dalgliesh and his team to Combe Island. But then the action moves to Combe Island, and it’s clear that no one is dead yet. I was so confused! Obviously, there must have been some kind indication of the shift backwards in time in the print copy of the book, but it wasn’t adequately signaled in the audiobook, and it took me ages to figure out what was going on. The problem with an audiobook, of course, is that it’s very difficult to go back and re-read. So you just soldier on, thinking that it will clear up, but in this case it took too long.
And I also have to say (dare I say it?) I’m a tiny bit sick of Kate Miskin, and that chip on her shoulder. No one in these books has even the slightest hint of a sense of humor, they are just so serious serious serious. It was all too much darkness and confusion for me. But James is the Queen of Crime Fiction, and her skills are intact. So I can’t give this a bad grade, I can just say that it wasn’t the right book for me at this moment.
Here is a link to the Guardian review. The reviewers at Amazon give the book very high marks, and the first review on the Amazon page, by M. L. Fletcher, now makes me want to go back and try reading the print version. I’ll let you know if I do.