Tanja Berg's Reviews > The Minotaur

The Minotaur by Barbara Vine
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's review
Apr 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: drama, kindle
Read from April 24 to 29, 2012

It's been a long time since I've read this sort of story. It's a little difficult to categorize, it's a sort of "who dunnit", but not at all as Ruth Rendell does it in her Wexford mysteries, for example. When writing as "Barbara Vine" her stories are completely different, I would not know they were the same person from the style. I enjoyed the story and I found the narrator, the Swedish nurse Kerstin, endearing and very likeable.

Kerstin comes to England to be close to her boyfriend Mark. She is employed by the Cosway family, which consists of Mrs. Cosway, her three daughters Winifred, Ella, Ida and son John. It is John Kerstin comes to care for, as the family doctor - Dr. Lombard - considers him a schizophrenic. There is a complicated will from the late Mr. Cosway which prevents John from being locked away by his family and the latter from gaining any inheritance as long as he's not. Money is motive for much despicable human behavior, so that's already a potent ingredient. Throw two men into the mix of spinster sisters: Winifred's pastor fiancé Eric and a "playboy" painter Felix. Kerstin records her thoughts about the family and the events taking place in a diary which eventually becomes evidence for the police.

The murder toward the end of the book is almost an anti-climax. How Kerstin copes working for this highly dysfunctional family is the main aspect of the book. Perhaps it's because she's Swedish - which is my mothertongue althouh I'm not one myself - but I would enjoy having a best friend like her. Observant, astute and simply quite lovely. This book would be nothing without Kerstin as a narrator. For me, the most important ingredient in any fiction is that author manages to make me care for the characters, whether it's liking or loathing, and that they are belieavable.
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Reading Progress

17.0% "I'm enjoying this so far! :)"
51.0% "Poor narrator, what a screwed up family she's ended up in."
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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i had a hard summarizing this one up. i very much liked Kerstin as well. The youngest in the household, she was clearly the wisest and very no-nonsense. not my typical type of read which is why i was so surprised to 4-star it.

i am glad you enjoyed it!

Tanja Berg Thanks Michael - and thank you for the recommendation! This was very much my kind of book, but a kind I haven't read in ages. I loved it! :)

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