Saturday, 8 December 2018

My Year in Books 2018: November

How exciting - I'm just one month away from having stuck to my New Year's Resolution for an entire year! I've never done that before! Sadly, though, I didn't actually get time for much reading in November, so there's only one review on today's post. I anticipate I'll catch up in December though, as I usually read quite a bit over Christmas... I guess you'll find out in my next post!

If you want to see my reviews for the rest of the year, you can find them here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October

Shroud for a Nightingale by P.D. James (1971)

Okay, so I did say that I wasn’t going to read any more Adam Dalgleish novels. But I spent most of November with a horrible cold, and I just wanted to read something comforting – and my comfort reading is Golden Age detective fiction. In my poorly brain, I thought this would be sort of the same thing. The book begins promisingly enough. Two student nurses are killed at a training school, and Adam Dalgleish is called in to investigate. There is a sense of claustrophobia, of a closed little world in which the suspects operate, of secretive undercurrents and things left unsaid. But that’s pretty much it, I’m afraid. James’s work is incredibly evocative of place and setting, but her novels are ultimately unsatisfying mysteries. While there’s plenty of exploration of the world of nursing here – with some judgemental commentary, and an obsessive need to catalogue every early morning or late drink a character has (something I noticed in Cover Her Face as well, though at least there it was part of the plot) – there are no clues that the reader might use to solve the mystery. In fact, the ending comes quite out of the blue. There are also a couple of chapters that seem to belong to a different book: the first, which focuses in detail on a character who plays no part in the story, and the unpleasant chapter which details how Dalgleish’s sergeant gets information out of an older woman. Don’t think I’m a James fan.

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