Monday, January 13, 2003

Sick of Shadows by Sharyn McCrumb

I've read two of Sharyn McCrumb's novels previous to this one: The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, a dark and eerie mystery set in Appalachia, and Bimbos of the Death Sun, a slight and cartoonish murder mystery set at a science fiction convention. Sick of Shadows is the first of a series of novels featuring Elizabeth McPherson, which is odd because although she is the primary viewpoint for the first few chapters, she fades into the background somewhat after a while, and doesn't solve the mystery herself. My investigations suggest that this is McCrumb's second novel, and it shows--the dialogue is at times a bit too cute, and the viewpoint floats from character to character distractingly. The characterization of Elizabeth seems a bit off as well. Still, for light reading you could do far worse, and there is enough humor here to make it enjoyable. Fair warning, though, if you're the sort who loves puzzles: I figured out who the murderer was and why about three-quarters of the way through, and I'm really not the sort of person who figures out mysteries before the end. Overall, this is a decent early effort from an author who went on to win every major award in crime fiction.


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