Heidi's Reviews > The Four Last Things

The Four Last Things by Andrew Taylor
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Aug 30, 09

bookshelves: audible-unabridged, mystery, written-review, favorites, great-title, authors-to-watch-for
Read in August, 2009

I was blown away by this book, and this author. It's as if you crossed Margaret Drabble or Iris Murdoch with a commercial detective writer. The subject is difficult (child kidnapping/abuse) but the author spins such a mezmerizing tale, and the characters are so real (including, believe it or not, one of the kidnappers) that I was in awe. Apparently, Taylor has written many other mysteries, including some historical ones, and I have already ordered several. BTW, this book is the first of a trilogy, and the author apparently goes further and further back in time with each book, unveiling the events that precipitate the ones in the first book. One of the two kidnappers in FOUR LAST THINGS is a woman, who though beautiful is completely manipulative and "evil" (that's not a term I use lightly) and apparently her story is told in the second book of the series. I have a feeling that, amazingly, Taylor will make her a fully rounded character, and reveal the circumstances that made her into the person capable of carrying out the horrendous acts. I take my hat off to him.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Gabriele (new) - added it

Gabriele Wills I have greatly enjoyed several of his mysteries, so will look forward to reading this!


Heidi Hi, Gabriele --
Nice to meet another fan of this author. What books of his have you read? I am looking forward to reading something like "An unpardonable sin" (Forget the title but it takes place in London in the early 19th century and is a mystery and one of the characters is Edgar Allen Poe as a ten year old!)


message 3: by Gabriele (new) - added it

Gabriele Wills I've read most of the Jill Francis/ Richard Thornhill mysteries, like Where Roses Fade and The Mortal Sickness. Because of ongoing relationships between characters, I'd suggest you try to read them in order, so check the copyright dates. I think An Air That Kills is the first one. I also read An American Boy, which I vaguely recall as very Victorian in ambiance.


Heidi It turns out An American boy is "An Unpardonable crime" -- they changed the title for America. I notice you gave 3 stars to most books -- not a high rating. Does that mean you didn't think they were great? Anyway, as you can see, I very much liked "The last four things" and now want to read the next in the trilogy. It's an interesting technique he used: The first book in the trilogy is the most recent in time, then he goes further back to explain how things got to that point in the second book, then even further back in the first book. (Twenty year periods each time.(


message 5: by Gabriele (new) - added it

Gabriele Wills I give books 3 stars when I recall that I liked them, just not how much. My 4 and 5 star ones are those that I really do remember loving, so I guess my ratings are a bit low for a lot of books that I did like at the time, but can't differentiate between anymore. The fact that I have more than a couple of books listed for many authors means that I liked them well enough to read more - in some cases every book they wrote.



message 6: by Fiona (new)

Fiona This was the first Andrew Taylor book I read - and fell for him since. I've read several others since, all very good although this one is my favourite.

The American Boy/An Unparonable Crime is also very good and I enjoyed really very much a lot too. Another of my favourites is An Air That Kills the first Lydmouth book and can't wait to continue with that series.

I think what I really love about his books are his characters and his pace - he reels you in slowly, letting out only a small bit each time always making you want to read more but without being a cheap crime/thriller page turner where you read more to find out what happens then just because you really enjoy the characters/story - if you see what I mean?

I love his writing.

The Dougal series starting with Caroline Minuscule however is ok - I gave only 3 stars for those. I think though them being some of his first books that they get better over time, I hope anyway. I have the third one to read.


Heidi Yes, I completely agree with you -- you're reading something exciting and mysterious, but literary at the same time. The characters feel so real. Even that child snatcher in "The four last things" (the guy, not the girl, obviously.)

I am about to start the first of the Lydmouth -- I'm so excited!

I also like the feeling of history you get from his books too, a sense of the past that gives it a lot of character.

I really regret he is not better known in America, though I think the Roth Trilogy did put him on the map, so to speak. I think you should write an e-mail telling him you like him -- ever author loves that kind of feedback. He said he'd put me on his mailing list and hoped he could get a speaking engagement in L.A. some day!!

Is he popular in England, or is he considered too highbrow?


message 8: by Fiona (last edited Feb 20, 2010 05:02PM) (new)

Fiona Hmm not popular but he does seem to be recognised. He has won quite a few CWA awards. I wish they would shunt P.D James over and give him more shelf space! You can usually find the Rothy trilogy omnibus and Bleeding Heart Square/American Boy but RARELY anything else.

I have never read P.D James and hear she is very good but you know - just wish he could have some spotlight.

I don't know why he isn't more popular - I guess it is because he doesn't fit the general mould. He doesn't just write one series and quite often writes standalones and they are all so different in subject and sometimes tone...

Have you seen the dramatisation of the Roth trilogy? I saw it first and glad I did as I wasn't into crime at all before and would have never discovered him otherwise.

I think we'll have to do our best to spread the word.


message 9: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Oh, hope you like An Air That Kills! I've been wanting to read the second one for ages but every other book in my bookshelf keep getting in my way.

Hmm I shall think what to say to him in my email, maybe try to restrain myself...


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