Maxine's Reviews > The Celtic Dagger

The Celtic Dagger by Jill Paterson
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's review
Dec 29, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: first-reads, i-own
Read from December 20 to 29, 2010

An eminent University Professor is murdered with an antique Celtic Dagger and with the Professor’s brother James Wearing being prime suspect, the race is on to clear his name. The premise is intriguing but Jill Paterson has presented us with a murder mystery which unfortunately does not deliver.

The plot itself is workable, but each plot pointer is only briefly touched upon, leaving the reader with no sense of anticipation or drama. The third person narrator is used like a bad director and even worse ‘he’ tells the story and ‘his’ delivery would make Ed Wood proud. Any story is better told via character dialogue, which in turn develops the character; you then get into the characters head and you begin to care about them. The narrator should just gently steer you into each scene. The characters in The Celtic Dagger are one dimensional, and I also had trouble with their names which caused me to recap several times to confirm who I was reading about.

The narration and dialogue is very stilted and I have now developed an aversion to the phrase “At that moment” along with its variation “At that same moment”. I was starting to shriek every time it was used, which was just about every other page.

There were two scenes that could have contained heightened drama: The Cliff Scene and The Stairwell Scene. But, again they are brushed over with a few lines and then the narrator switches us over to a new scene. I have read short stories that have got my heart pounding and Jill Paterson could have done so much more here to create some excitement level; the lack of it really affected my reading experience.

The love interest concerning the Inspector could have been expounded towards the end, I thought it was a nice touch, although Wearing’s imminent romance was a little corny (but I’m not much of a romantic) and as the novel is set in Australia I would have liked to have had more back story to the locations involved. The characters travel around a bit and if you are not familiar with the area it is very hard to visualise.

In summary, the ideas are there, but the author’s writing skills definitely need some work.
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Reading Progress

12/26/2010 page 100
45.0% "This is a first read and I don't want to give away too much before I do the actual review. The writing is a little stilted but I do want to see where the story is going."

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