Diane's Reviews > A Death in Summer

A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black
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's review
May 04, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: book-club
Read in October, 2011

This book has an amazing image in it. One of the villains of the book says: "how different things are from the way they seem. Take the canal, there. Smooth as glass, with those ducks or whatever they are, and the reflection of that white cloud, and the midges going up and down like the bubbles in a bottle of soda water--picture of peace and tranquility, you'd say. But think what's going on beneath the surface, the big fish eating the little ones, and the bugs on the bottom fighting over the bits that float down, and everything covered in slime and mud." He then goes on, "there are two distinct worlds, the world where everything seems grand and straightforward and simple--that that's the world that the majority of people live in, or at least imagine they live in--and then there's the real world, where real things go on."
Obviously if one likes mysteries as a genre, it's impossible to ignore the ugliness, violence, and disruption of the world. All mysteries must have something unaccountable, out of the ordinary in them, and mostly they show people's greed and anger. Both real life and fictional murder investigations often uncover the "real world" and bring out information that is hurtful and destructive and often has nothing to do with the crime.
This book however seems to glory in piling "slime and mud" over everything. It's about incestuous abuse of a child, it's about wide scale abuse of children that's covered up by Church and state, it's about people being liars and seducers, it's about a young gifted pathologist who tries to be kind and compassionate to a young woman and has a finger deliberately cut off. There is never any triumph of order over disorder, much less "good" over "evil."
Our book club had picked this book, and since I dislike starting a series in the middle, I read the first book in the series "Christine Fell" and then this one, skipping the intervening books. I found this one very similar to the first one.

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