Top critical review
Too many characters, too little payoff
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2020
New characters are being introduced well into the second half of this book. Can I keep track of them? Sure. Do I want to? For this kind of a read? No. It's really not worth it. I've read the previous four books so I know what to expect. I read 70 or more detective novels a year. This series is a 7 out of 10, maybe 7.5 through the high points. That's just not enough of a payoff to be thumbing back and forth through the pages to keep up with the characters. If a writer can't tell a story like this with a normal number of characters then they shouldn't be writing. I dropped this one about 60% through.
Here's a pet peeve: Dalgliesh loves to write about characters "flicking their eyes." I have never heard of a character or person "flicking their eyes." EVER. And I'm retired now, so I've been around the block. I know what rolling your eyes is. I can picture it. I know what it means. I can't picture "flicking your eyes" and I have no idea what it means. It's just a bizarre, unhelpful mannerism. Add to that the fact that Dalgliesh will use the words "flick," "flicked" and "flicking" a few other times in other contexts over the course of a book and the word just echoes over and over. Totally overused.
The 5 star reviews here are laughable, especially since half of them are semi-literate as book reviews go. I won't say the writing is bad I will just say it's flawed. Overall the series is a 3 star. This particular book is a 3, too, but I just couldn't commit myself to finishing it knowing 1) what the investment would be and 2) what the payoff would be. The complexity is unnecessary and over the top given the payoff. Reading some of the other middling review comments here about the ending I can see I made the right choice.