Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Rare Murder in Princeton by Anne Waldron

This is one of the worst books I have read in a while. Apparently I am alone in feeling this way though considering that the reviews on for the book are overall quite good. But here’s my issue: The plot and the murder itself aren’t that bad it’s the rest of the book that stinks. The dialogue is completely unnatural. At least, I hope most people don’t talk like that. It just doesn’t flow in any way that sounds normal. And, the part that really got me was the recipes at the end. A dozen years ago or so Diane Mott Davidson – among others – popularized a whole new kind of mystery – include recipes or other useful tips at the end of your book to popularize it and to help the book appeal to a whole new audience. It works for Davidson, her books are about a caterer who cooks all the way through the book. But Waldron’s characters occasionally eat dinner together or cook for one another: thus a selection of recipes. Why? It seems like a total non sequitur.

Finally, the book purports to be about an academic at Princeton. You get a bit of a sense of what life is like on a college campus, but very little feel for the location. The story could have been placed at most any college campus in the United States. If you’re going to pick a well-known location like Princeton, make a concerted effort to really make the reader feel like she’s on the Princeton campus and dealing with well-educated faculty members and students. (Other reviews talk about how much they appreciate the quaint connections she makes to the real campus. Ah well, to each his own.)

I am a discerning reader, but rarely am I just out and out negative about a book. I would be willing to read Waldron’s other work, as she has published a number of books so there is an agent and editor out there somewhere who thinks she has talent. Personally I think there are many other authors and books that are worth picking up before Waldron's.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

"This is the worst book I've read in a long time" - I love it! Girlfriend, sometimes books just suck and that's a fact!