fair to middling

Posted: 07/22/2005 in books

I really wasn’t expecting too much from Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (I found Not The end of The World to be a very lack luster collection of short stories), and so it didn’t disappoint. It turned out to be a very pedestrian effort to dabble in the mystery genre. There were no surprises, every character evolved into something rather obvious and dull. There seemed to be a check list of caricatures and issues that needed to be touched on.

1. Ex-married, ex-forces, ex-policeman turned PI (who has a volatile relationship with the ex-wife, worries he is loosing daughter to the new father figure) – check

2. Reliable (ethnic) friend to 1 – check

3. Sexually repressed middle aged woman who turns into a lesbian – check

4. Waif with a secret – check

5. Hot nurse with a secret – check

6. Wife with a secret, planning on running off with the vicar and leaving her horrid step kid behind – check

7. Missing child – check

8. Distant father figure who abused his children and died alone – check

9. A girl who talks to god and Joan of Arc (due to possible tramatic event, see 7 and 8) – check.

10. Batty old women, who has many cats and is frightfully posh – check

11. Nasty relation to 10, who wants her inheritance (but not her cats) – check

Throw in some cliches into the mix and you’re done. Poorly written fiction really annoys me. But, not as much as the assumption that mysteries or sci-fi are some how lesser genres and require less care when being written. There are some awesome modern authors who write complex and intelligent prose (just scrapping the surface with Ian Rankin, Iain Banks, William Gibson, and Jeff Noon) unfortunately Atkinson isn’t one of them, and I shall resign her to the Atwood bin.


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