As a great fan of Laurie R. King, Touchstone was a very interesting read. It was the first stand-alone of hers that I've read and, to be quite honest,As a great fan of Laurie R. King, Touchstone was a very interesting read. It was the first stand-alone of hers that I've read and, to be quite honest, I prefer her Kate Martinelli and Mary Russell books. Touchstone is a well-developed story with quite a lot of information about Communism and anarchy in the 1920s both from the point of view of an American and from the British aristocracy. It's quite fascinating information, but it seems as though more emphasis is put on the development of the political situation rather than on the characters. While this shouldn't have bothered me so much if it had been any other book, I love Laurie R. King's characters and, on the whole, these fell a little bit flat. She's a much better series writer when she can build characters over the course of several books, rather than trying to create and contain every character in a single book. I did, though, enjoy meeting Bennett Grey. Although Harris, Sarah, and Carstairs all fell flat at sometimes (and Laura felt like a caricature), Bennett was a wonderful character. I was unable to predict his back story and could never quite predict what he would do throughout the story, although when viewed as a whole, his actions are quite logical. I almost found myself wishing that he would "guest-star" in a Mary Russell book, as he does fit the time-frame and I would adore seeing how she and Holmes reacted to him. In the end, I enjoyed Touchstone, but only because I actually became invested in the characters in the last hundred pages or so. The previous four hundred pages lacked Laurie R. King's usual flair. The lack of her flair, though, takes Touchstone from being quite amazing just to being somewhat good. I'm hesitant to start another stand alone of hers because I'm afraid that it too won't stand up to how good of an author she is. ...more
It was marvelous in that it truly expressed who she was. It was conversational and non-linear and I could almost hear her voice saying the words as IIt was marvelous in that it truly expressed who she was. It was conversational and non-linear and I could almost hear her voice saying the words as I read them. It was fascinating to hear her insights about the other people she worked with and her experiences in Africa (some of which sound terrifying). She has a true gift for being able to describe and characterize a person with short sentences - she can just sum up the essence of a person. ...more
Melodramatic, yes, but one of the most wonderful lines ever uttered in a courtroom, fictional or otherwise. This moment of"The barometer is falling."
Melodramatic, yes, but one of the most wonderful lines ever uttered in a courtroom, fictional or otherwise. This moment of levity made the excessive use of the courtroom slightly more forgivable. I had very little patience for the entire inquest at the very opening of the book. Even though it did contribute to the character building and presented lots of little clues to be unpacked later on, I could not help but skim the last couple of pages. It just carried on with (it felt like) no end in sight. So, when the scene returned to the trial at the very end, I was distinctly unamused. However, that time, Sayers kept it short and to the point - and she even managed to drop a few of the best lines of the entire book. I have great hope, though, that the next several books do not contain the transcript of the entire inquest.
The quality of the actual mystery (Plot? What's that, you say?) was greatly improved in this, the second installment. Although I'm certainly not the best at determining solutions to mystery plots before they completely unravel, the first one was ridiculously straightforward and uncomplicated. This one, though, was a bit more complex. I did eventually put the pieces together, but I did so with more appropriate timing. The solution, rather than being glaringly obvious, was somewhat murky, but I was definitely able to figure it out before a few of the characters. This, too, gives me great hope that the books will only get better as we go along.
And no review would be complete without me saying how fond I am of Lord Peter's humor. It's terribly British and terribly dated, but it's absolutely wonderful. Sayers can write dry humor like no other and it's an absolute joy to read, even if it sounds stilted when it's read aloud. ...more
Alice Munro is amazing and I say this even after I've been assigned to use her stories for my English final. She has an extremely wonderful way with pAlice Munro is amazing and I say this even after I've been assigned to use her stories for my English final. She has an extremely wonderful way with poignancy and all of her stories are an absolute pleasure to read. ...more
While well-written and excellently crafted, I felt that it became repetitive at the very end, spoiling the suspense and tension that had previously beWhile well-written and excellently crafted, I felt that it became repetitive at the very end, spoiling the suspense and tension that had previously been created. However, as one of the stand alone novels of Laurie R. King, I enjoyed it. Her background in academic theology shone through, which was fascinating. I especially loved the papers, notes, transcripts, etc. that began most of the chapters. I'm not sure that I would rate this as one of Laurie's best works, but it was definitely a solid stand-alone....more