Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Murder and Mendelssohn - Review
Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood
Description: When a universally disliked composer is found murdered with a system full of opiates and pages of a Mendelssohn competition shoved down his throat Detective Inspector Jack Robinson calls in Phrynne Fisher to help him figure out this strange complicated world of musicians. Happily, while at the theater Phrynne runs into old friend and former John Wilson whose companion Dr. Rupert Sheffield is taking the world by storm with his lectures on deductive reasoning. So begins a twisting hunt for the murder with Phrynne's whole household, old friends and beautiful clothes in tow.
Pros: This is the 2nd Phrynne Fisher I've read and the 20th in the series. I was a little worried that this would end up being clogged with backstories that I wouldn't understand but Greenwood actually incorporates new characters very well. For example with Jane and Ruth, Phrynne's adopted children she simply mentions they're adopted. Obviously, there's a very long story behind it but it doesn't pertain to this particular story so you don't get bogged with the details. It was a very simple effective way to deal with a complicated character. The mystery itself was very well done. The suspects and motives were plenty without being over the top. The whole atmosphere was very entertaining and unusual. I liked Phrynne's extremely logical personality and her interactions with her varied household were fun. I normally don't like children in mysteries but Jane, Ruth and Tinker were intelligent without being to precocious and added an element of fun to the story.
Cons: While I liked Phrynne's old friend John but his relationship with his companion with Rupert Sheffield was so similar to Sherlock Holmes and John Watson it got distracting. I found myself being pulled out of the story to think "Wow, there's another similarity." Also, while I like Phrynne's cold and logical attitude towards sex and her inner conversations about not seducing suspects was pretty funny after awhile it just got a bit much. There were times I wanted it to get back to the mystery.
Overall Impression: Since I had only read the first book in the series I was afraid I'd be confused by skipping ahead to #20. Greenwood did a good job of showing character growth without being confusing to new readers. I feel like you could pick up any book in the series without trouble. The setting - Australia in the 1920s - is unique and I found it very interesting. This is a very well done mystery series with a very different lead character. I think most mystery lovers would enjoy this book and this series.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes