Confessions of a Mystery Novellist, has reintroduced me to the pleasure of reading well written crime fiction, and the only reason I hadn't read either of her books was because even the online bookstores in India didn't stock them. When I finally held the book in my hands, I wanted to drop everything and dive into it, but managed to resist the temptation till I finished the book I had then been reading.
The wait was worth it. Within moments of opening the book, I was drawn into the story of music student, Serena Brinkworth. Beautiful, rich and talented, she could have been someone you admired from far, but didn't really want to get close to. Instead, she turned out to be a very nice person, who genuinely cared for others and often went out of her way to help them. You knew she was going to die, but kept hoping she would not, and when she actually did midway through the book, all you wanted to do was to find the murderer and see that justice was done.
Margot knows more about crime fiction than anyone else I know. She is also a mistress of crafting a mystery story in the tradition of Dame Agatha Christie. There was a range of very diverse suspects, each with a unique and very plausible motive to murder. Which of them actually did it was the question. The story followed Dr Joel Williams, a professor of Criminal Justice (and teacher of Serena's lover) as he sifted through the evidence to find out which of them actually also had the means to commit the crime.
Since you know that Margot is too much of a student of the classic whodunit to cheat the reader by withholding clues, it was relatively easy to sniff out the red herrings, and nab the culprit pages before the investigators. But that only added to the allure of the book.
The book is written in an easy to read style that draws you in, and keeps you floating along with current. Each of the characters is well deliniated and multi-dimensional- whether you like them or not, you feel you known them. Best of all, through Serena, her lover and one other character, Margot tackles a topic that most writers tend to keep away from, and does it with great sensitivity.
Overall, a book I enjoyed reading, as much as I do her daily blog posts.
I am sure most of you have already read the book, but if you haven't, do yourself a favour and get hold of the book at the earliest.
Disclaimer: Margot sent me the book, but it was not in anticipation of a review. I reviewed the book, because I loved it, and I want more people to enjoy it as much as I did.
If I have done it right, the book trailer should show up here -