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Sunday, December 12, 2010

On The Edge by Peter Lovesey

On The Edge by Peter Lovesey
This is an old style English murder mystery. What makes it old style? Well, it was set in the period immediately after WWII, in London. Other than that I don't quite know. Perhaps it was because it was more of psychological a character study than an action packed drama.

This book started out very slow for me. It is primarily about two unhappily married women, in London, immediately after WWII. Neither of them are appealing characters, both are self centered. I read a couple of chapters and then I put it down for a couple of weeks. I just picked it up again a few days ago and coincidentally it became more interesting. One of the women becomes slightly more sympathetic because she starts asserting herself instead of just letting things happen. Things become more intense and more screwball right up to the very end.

The story ends just as the whole thing is about to unravel. I would really like to read the story of the subsequent trial, if someone were to write it.

There were a couple of little bits of Britain embedded in the story. One was this:
Antonia was already striding indomitably towards the nearest ruined houses, which were - or had been - semi-detached, the sort that aspiring middle class people owned. Probably they had once been alloted numbers that the owners had replaced with names like Mon Repos. (P. 192)
You can just do that? Replace your house number with a name? Even if you could, why would you? I can understand big estates having names, the place becomes widely known and the name becomes shorthand for the address, which is an insufficient description of the place, and the description required to fully explain it. But why would people name ordinary houses? Are they pretending to be rich? Do they have that much attachment to their house? I think I am missing something here.

Update December 2016 replaced missing picture.

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