“ Hardcover: 309 pages / Publisher: Magna / Published: 15 Jun 2006 „
== Synopsis of the book:==
While doing jury service Virginia Woolley befriends unemployed Landscape Architect Christopher Elms. She is 37 and he in his early twenties but they get on well and seem to have plenty in common. However she is in a love less marriage with a man thirty years her senior, but a man who won the lotto jackpot shortly before she met him and scooped nine million pounds.
Virginia and Christopher decide to embark on an affair with the need to be discreet. Luckily is often able to get away from her husband for a weekend or even a week saying she is visiting her sister. On one of these weeks away in Gozo the couple decide that in order for their new found love to blossom they must get rid of her Husband. As Virginia is convinced if she divorces him she will get little out of him and she wants everything. And unbeknown to Christopher, Virginia had previously married an older millionaire who died after mysteriously drowning in their swimming pool. Can they hatch a plan together to kill husband number two and live happily ever after?
==My thought on the novel:==
For me this was a disappointing crime thriller. I think the reason for saying this was because it was not your typical crime story. As a result I felt a little robbed because there was no real mystery about the story as we were led through the murder and we knew exactly who did it and why. So for me it was not as good as I had expected and there were no real unexpected twists within the story to interest me.
In the past I have read several books from author Peter Turnbull. And as far as I am concerned he does not write very complicated or intricate stories. Just usually well thought out yarns that do not particularly tax the reader. Ideal as far as I am concerned for a holiday read that you can dip into when the mood strikes you. For an experienced crime reader like myself I feel they offer little in the way of a challenge but I always live in hope they will one day.
Peter Turnbull is a successful crime and mystery writer. Thus far this English writer has written 41 stories with the majority 22 being in the Hennessey and Yellich series. These stories are for me his best work, I think because while again they are short and not very complex stories, they have excellent lead characters which really add to the story. The book I am reviewing here is a stand alone story and was first published in 2005.
The first thing that struck me when I saw this book for sale in the charity shop was it unusual title and a remark on the front of it that said ' Every game requires a winner and a loser'. This sounded interesting so I sort out the summary on the inside cover. It was three paragraphs long and I thought set the scene very well with Virginia and Christopher teaming up to murder her husband. Although in hindsight I feel the author gave much too much of the story away as this was nearly half of the story. However it was this summary that persuaded me to purchase this second hand for one pound fifty pence.
The story started with what turned out to be a very appropriate prologue. It was about four pages long and it told of a couple playing an usual 'sex game', resulting in the male being killed. It was a good start and although it did not name names it soon became apparent who the characters within scene were. I am not a big fan of prologues but this one was exactly the right way to start this story.
The first chapter told how Virginia and Christopher met while doing jury service. It had me interested in what would happen between them and had the type of detail I thought was required to get to know and understand the two lead characters. I found the story easy to read and even easier to get into and I started to enjoy it. As I wondered how these two despite they age gap would get on away from the jury service.
I found I really took to these two characters and with the story being written from both their view point you got an understanding of what they were thinking. Although I was surprised that they gelled as well especially as he was so inexperienced with women and she clearly was a women who had embarked on affairs before. I enjoyed the way the story developed and while I did not feel challenged their was a simplicity about it and I kept expecting a clever and unexpected twist to turn everything on its head, sadly I am still waiting for this.
Although I was surprised how much detail we were to be given about the murder of Virginia's husband. And if there was a twist it happened around this time but it was too obvious and I expected far more. It was about halfway through the story the Police started to get involved in it and I found few good descriptions of them. It made me think there must have been a previous book or two in the series that introduced them to the reader, but when I did some research I found there were none. As a result I found I did struggled to remember who was who amongst them and none of them struck me with unusual or different mannerisms that I could remember.
And while I enjoyed the majority of the story and the investigation I kept hoping for more depth within it. I looked for something that would turn the whole story on its head but I was to be disappointed. I felt the author could easily have doubled the length of the story and really put a lot more depth within it that would have challenged the reader, because the concept for me was a sound one.
Throughout the story the pace of it was steady rather than fast and even as it moved towards the end this did not change. While the conclusion was well thought out it still for me liked any fire of excitement. As for me the story failed to develop I found my frustration with it grow as there was so little to me to get my teeth into, in the end I was glad it just finished and I had completed it.
Virginia and Christopher to my surprise were the two main characters. I expected the leading Policeman to be and take over from them but that never happened. As such they were very contrasting characters. Virginia was a very clever woman with a past that only came out later on. I liked her devious ways and the way she used her sexual allure to get what she wanted in life. Christopher was a clever but naive man who did not have any experience with the opposite sex. He had never been in love and he lost his head to Virginia.
For me the story was much to short to do justice to what was initially a good idea. That said it was a very easy and quick read I found I had completed it from start yo finish in one weekend. Which while always nice to do I still believe there was nothing about the story I will remember fondly or otherwise in six months time. It was a story that lacked the key crime ingredients mystery and suspense and the guilty party was we always knew how and why they did it.
My overall opinion of this crime mystery was it was a disappointing read and not one hand on heart I can recommend. The story lacked depth and I felt a real lack of a challenge when reading it. I kept hoping there would be extra twists within it but was disappointed with what I read. And while the initial idea for the story was a good one I felt the author missed an opportunity to create something new and different. As a result I felt disappointed by it and it failed to stimulate me.
Publisher: Allison and Busby
First published: 2005
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS January 2013