Chelsea Mansions by Barry Maitland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Do guys who were born and raised in Montreal really say “Fancy a cup of tea?”
Maybe they do. I wouldn’t know. It just seems a very English thing to say, from a guy who grew up in Quebec. But maybe I’m wrong.
2.5 stars for this, because it was well-structured but also sort of inert. There was no momentum, little urgency, and not much at stake. It’s one of those mysteries where everything anyone says–and everything anyone reveals as part of their personal history–turns out to be part of the solution to the mystery.
Which is fine. As a craft issue, it’s an admirable way to create a mystery, but without truly engaging characterization or a sense of momentum, it feels very rote. I realize I’m jumping into a long-running series, but it was hard to feel much interest in the characters’ dilemmas.
Did I mention that everything tied into the final mystery? Well, one thing didn’t. One of the two stars of the series catches the Marburg virus and goes into the hospital for much of the book. There’s no real reason to do this except to leave the junior partner, a woman, in charge of the investigation for a while. And of course she makes an error that gets her whole unit disbanded.
Meh. I wasn’t feeling it.
Oh! I forgot to mention that there’s a whole lot of talk about some old cases involving a deadly criminal by the name “Spider Roach.”
Now, maybe that is the greatest villain since Prof. Moriarity, but nothing about “Spider Roach” sounds promising to me.
Get your own copy of Chelsea Mansions: A Brock and Kolla Mystery (Brock and Kolla Mysteries)