Tag Archives: First person past tense

A Mansion for Murder, by Frances Brody

13 Mar
Illustration style cover for A Mansion for Murder, by Frances Brody. A white woman with dark short hair in a curly bob, wearing a pink late 1920s 'Gatsby' era dress (long bodice, waistline at the hip, pleated skirt to below the knee, long sleeves, integrated necktie in a fairly pronounced v-neckline), with contrasting waistband, cuffs, and necktie in royal blue, is hiding against a wall, leaning over to look surreptitiously into a large room with a fireplace, and a large area rug with bold designs in bright colors (deep blue, red, pink, royal blue). On the far side of the room, other arches open to other rooms, in one of which the shadow of a person wearing pants can be seen creeping into the main room.

Reader beware: death of a parental figure; child in danger; another child’s death (several decades prior); miscarriage or self-induced abortion; off-page rape; sudden death (heart attack) of a minor character; tangential mention of PTSD.

Disclosure: the formatting of the ARC is weird. For starters, it does not have a table of contents. At all. For a 300 pages and change book. That made it time consuming to go back to check things as I got to the later parts of the story. I presume this won’t be the case for the final product, but it makes it harder for me to review an advance copy. (YMMV obviously).

Beyond that, there are whole sections with hard returns after every sentence in the same paragraph, the name of the author appears randomly in the middle of some pages, there’s nothing to indicate transitions between narrators, and so on. (See footnote 1)

I hope this didn’t color my opinion of the book too much, but that’s one of those things that are really hard to quantify, so do keep it in mind as you read this review.

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The Mimicking of Known Successes, by Malka Older

27 Feb
Cover for Malka Older's "The Mimiching of known successes": against a background that is an stylized rendition of Jupiter in ocher and earth tones, with an industrial looking skyline towards the bottom, two figures silhouetted in black walk towards the horizon. One of them has long hair and a hip-length coat, the other one wears a wide brim hat and a knee-length coat.

I have been aware of Doctora Malka Older as a person for a while; though I didn’t follow her on twitter, we interacted there a few times. I’ve known, for at least as long, that she writes speculative fiction. Given that lately I’ve struggled to read, and what most of what I do read is genre romance, I hadn’t considered reading any of her work until now.

See, the publisher’s tag for this novel is, “a cozy Holmesian murder mystery and sapphic romance, set on Jupiter”. Then there’s the cover (look at it!). How could anyone resist?

So I requested this ARC in a fit of unwarranted optimism, and was absolutely delighted when I got it.

Reader beware: there’s one murder off page, and some violence on page; first-person, past tense narration.

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The Third Mrs Durst, by Ann Aguirre

6 Feb
Cover for _The Third Mrs. Durst_: a white woman shot from the back from shoulders to hips, holding her hands behind her back; she's dressed in a black two-piece outfit with sheer gray sleeves with black dots, and red leather gloves. The title is in white block letters, except for the word "third" which is in red like the gloves.

(I read this book on time for SuperWendy’s November 2022 TBR Challenge (theme: lies), then never finished the review. As I’m struggling to read, I’m hoping writing this will help jumpstart the reading mojo, because the next TBR day is but two weeks away!)

I was in a panic about what to read, when I remembered I had this ARC. Given that I generally love Ms Aguirre’s voice, it was a no-brainer.

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The Socialite’s Guide to Murder, by S.K. Golden

12 Oct
Cover for The Socialite's Guide to Murder; on a black background, there's a front elevation of an art deco hotel, rendered in golden/cream. Some of the windows appear to be 'open' and through them we see figures doing suspicious things. The moon peeks from behind the roof, and some clouds move overhead.

This is marketed as a debut (unless S.K. Golden is a pseudonym, of course), as well as the first book in a series, and I have to say that it shows.

Reader beware: wealthy white debutante, with attendant problematic behavior and perspective; closeted gay best friend (see: period setting); agoraphobia and PTSD; car accident; parental neglect; closed door sex.

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