Kristensilvermoore's Reviews > Martyr

Martyr by Rory Clements
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's review
Oct 28, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: mysteries
Read from October 28 to November 02, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I probably would give this book more like 2 1/2 stars. I did enjoy reading it, but the main character annoyed me somewhat. He was not as bright as I like my detectives and fell into a few traps that I saw coming. I guess he was a little too Hastings, not enough Poirot, especially when it came to his interactions with women.

My other main complaint is that, though I would say the book was well-written historical detective fiction, the author’s use of similes was a bit awkward. You can tell he really relished coming up with historically accurate similes, which he sprinkles throughout the text, but to me, they stood out as a bit too cute.

Also, the way the novel wraps up at the end is a bit too neat and tidy for my taste—at least when it comes to the protagonist John Shakespeare’s love life. He gets the girl in the end, and I have to admit, I was surprised by this happy ending. I fully expected the Catholic Catherine Marvel to remain at her employer Woods’ side, and I think it would have made for a better ending. Maybe I expect my detectives to stay unhappy in their personal lives? Is this my failing and not the author’s? When I think about it, I guess I just wasn’t fully invested in the relationship. The characters seemed to fall in love so fast that I didn’t quite buy it! Also, the discussion of Catherine’s “maidenhead” at the end of the novel just made me roll my eyes. I was not fond of that dialogue!

Finally, the fact that the murderer got away with it made me angry! Such a terrible person as Topcliff deserves to hang! Even though I recognize Shakespeare was in difficult circumstances, I just couldn’t believe that he would let Topcliff off. Maybe I want this detective to be a little braver? So I guess I’m contradicting myself in that I want tidiness in the resolution of the murder case, but not in the detective’s love life.

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