Category: Classic Crime
Synopsis: Marian and her sister Laura live a quiet life under their uncle's guardianship until Laura's marriage to Sir Percival Glyde. Sir Percival is a man of many secrets. Hence, Marian and the girls' drawing master, Walter, have to turn detective in order to work out what is going on, and to protect Laura from a fatal plot (synopsis from BookDepository)
My Thoughts: The book certainly lives up to its inclusion in the R.I.P. V challenge. It manages to include several mysteries as well as intrigue and things that go bump in the night. In this respect I found the book very satisfying. The intrigue kept me going. Who was actually the bad guys and how were they bad? And why were they bad?
Now I’m going to put on my militant feminist hat and get on my soapbox. I really disliked the way Collins portrays Laura. At no real point in the book is she strong. Not only is she strong, but she is all fainty. I HATE fainty females. Yes I know this book was written in a different time and that I shouldn’t project my 21st century sensibilities onto a book written in 18?? But the thing is, Collins does make Marian stronger. She isn’t all fainty. So he obviously knew women could be capable. That said none of the female characters in the book are all that strong. They are either very scheming or plain weak. The only righteous character in the book is Walter Hartright. Yes the other men are hardly admirable characters either (do not get me started on the uncle, I might hit something).
All that said, I really enjoyed the book. I really enjoyed the narrative style adopted. The story is told primarily by Walter, who takes on the task of storyteller and he addresses the reader directly. The other narrators are compelled to do so by Walter, to tell of the events that he wasn’t there to see himself. This makes the story seem somewhat more real. It makes you think it could really have happened.
Although it has taken me a while to read this book, it is actually an easy read. Unlike many other classics (and remember I like classics) the language in this book isn’t hard to understand. It is an intriguing story and a great mystery. I highly recommend it!