Book Review 17 – Sympathy

By: snowgood

Aug 17 2018

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Category: literature, books

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This (the fourth Breen and Tozer detective story) is set in the “Swinging Sixties”.

The title is in deference to the opening chapter where Brain Jones of The Rolling Stones is found at the bottom of a swimming pool.

I’m guessing the “Sympathy for the Devil” link makes this work of fiction sound that little bit more sinister.

In truth it might be more accurately called “The case of Julie Teenager”.

Once the main characters make their appearance the book comes alive.

I’ll not spoil the story for you, but the mismatched “couple” that set out to investigate a peculiar murder are utterly convincing.

Helen Tozer’s youthful enthusiasm plays well against the staid upbringing and attitudes of Cathal Breen.

If you’d asked me to give it a rating the minute I finished the book it would have got 10 out of 10.

An hour or so later doubts set in.

Was William Shaw struggling to meet his deadline?

The last chapters could have been crafted slightly differently and served up the same outcome.

As it is “the case” closes all too neatly.

I’m fairly certain any such “occurrence” in real life wouldn’t stand up to the weakest impartial investigation.

But what do I know? I’m not a detective.

Even with my caveat I’d give the book 9 out of 10.