©1969 Ellis Peters; (P)1993 Recorded Books, LLC
I liked the previous entries in this series so much that I went ahead and downloaded every one that Audible offers. Now I'm wondering if I made a mistake. I suppose any author can write a bad book occasionally, and I'm hoping that the following books which I have already downloaded will prove that point. Anyway, here's my beef:
In one of the previous books, the action takes place at a weekend seminar for people interested in folk songs, and the plot roughly follows the outline of one particular folk song. It actually worked pretty well. I THINK that she was trying to do something similar in this book, but instead of folk singers, we have an opera singer. Was Peters so much more melodramatic in this book because the main character was an opera singer? I'm not sure. I also think that she was more or less trying to make the plot follow an opera like she did with the folk song in the previous book, but for me it just DID NOT WORK.
There was a lot of over emotional posturing about how the main character was haunted by the past, and then suddenly she isn't haunted by it anymore, and I really didn't understand how she supposedly got from point A to point B. And in the climactic scene, we have the heroine throwing herself in front of the hero, and then the hero throwing himself in front of the heroine, and the bad guy just kind of standing there with his gun and waiting for them to work it out. I had been getting more and more unhappy with the book, and at that point I wanted to shout at the bad guy, "What are you waiting for! Shoot them both and put me out of my misery."
And the supposed heroine is one of those wimpy heroines from days of yore whose role is to stand around and strike noble poses while doing nothing. I HATE this type of heroine. At the end, the "hero" has been shot and the heroine and he are in a locked room. She is holding a pressure point to keep him from bleeding out until help arrives. So far so good. But then the escaping bad guy is mortally wounded. Instead of just lying there and dying, he decides to go back and get his revenge upon the heroine before he dies. So he crawls 90 yards to reach her (and with a gun in his hand). Ninety yards is most of the length of a football field. Could you crawl that far (even without a bullet in your CHEST)? Not surprisingly, by the time he gets to the room where the heroine is and unlocks it, he is just about done for. At this point, the heroine could have done several things: She could have rushed over and held the door closed against him. He was nearly dead. It shouldn't have been hard. But then the author explains that she couldn't do that because she has to keep holding the pressure point so the hero doesn't bleed to death. Okay, so maybe she should quickly kick the bad guy in the head, take the gun away from him, get the key the bad guy just used to unlock the door, and unlock the other door that the good guys can't get through, thus permitting the doctors to get to the hero. But this doesn't occur to her. Instead she waits, holding the pressure point until the bad guy raises the gun. Then she stands up and faces him bravely. She makes no attempt to save herself or her boyfriend; she just stands there nobly waiting. Meanwhile, her boyfriend is now bleeding again and the other door is still locked. And by the way, even though the door was in an abandoned ruin and might therefore be expected to be very frail from rot and neglect, apparently not. The good guys on the other side have been throwing themselves against it, hacking at it with axes, and shooting at it without managing to get through.
I'm sorry. The book started out okay and then just got more and more ridiculous and implausible. (I could write a book explaining all the implausibilities of this book.)
My recommendation: Skip this one.
The House of Green Turf isn't my favorite of the Inspector Felse series. But it is still enjoyable, and if you like Ellis Peters and want the whole series (or at least as much as is available), go for it.
And Simon Prebble's narration is excellent as always. He's one of the best.
I typically REALLY enjoy Ellis Peters stories. This one is definately a cut below the rest. Sickeningly melodramatic with an absurd amount of hyperbole.
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