Thursday, December 12, 2013

First Chapter Review: The Norfolk Mystery by Ian Sansom

I've gotten caught behind the eight ball this month and haven't had time to fully read this book. So, I am opting to share my thoughts on the first chapter today, with a full review to follow. I received a digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

BLURB:  Love Miss Marple? Adore Holmes and Watson? Professor Morley's guide to Norfolk is a story of bygone England: quaint villages, eccentric locals—and murder …

It is 1937, and disillusioned Spanish Civil War veteran Stephen Sefton is broke. So when he sees a mysterious advertisement for a job where "intelligence is essential," he eagerly applies.

Thus begins Sefton's association with Professor Swanton Morley, an omnivorous intellect. Morley's latest project is a history of traditional England, with a guide to every county.

They start in Norfolk, but when the vicar of Blakeney is found hanging from his church's bell rope, Morley and Sefton find themselves drawn into a rather more fiendish plot. Did the reverend really take his own life, or is there something darker afoot?

A must-read for fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Charles Todd, this novel includes plenty of murder, mystery, and mayhem to confound.

COVER: The cover attracted me to the book in the first place. Then when I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read it. The color scheme of this cover, the quaint setting, and the flash of a red car all make this a winning cover in my book.

FIRST CHAPTER: The reader meets narrator, Stephen Sefton, who sets the stage for the story he is about to tell and what brought him to meet Professor Swanton Morley.

KEEP READING: While I don't mind a steady paced mystery or a slowly developing one, the  first chapter of The Norfolk Mystery by Ian Sansom is all backstory, setting the stage so the reader gets to know Sefton better. It's not my favorite way to start a book. One can't deny Sefton is an interesting narrator; and perhaps as the story moves along and Sefton and Professor Morley are deep into the mystery, all the backstory will turn out necessary. Right now, however, I'm considering how far away I am from getting into the thick of things.

I've continued with The Norfolk Mystery out of curiosity. Right now I'm close to the end of Chapter Four. Each chapter has revealed just a tiny bit more of the prequel to the mystery: Sefton's interview with Morley, which leads to their working together, the popularity of Morley who is also known as The People's Professor, and Sefton's journey to meet up with Morley in Holt to start his new job. Just like I found in A Place to Die by Dorothy James, the author spends a good deal of time shaping his characters and allowing the readers to get to know them well. That's a plus for character-driven readers such as myself. I'm just hoping the death of the vicar comes along soon so that the mystery gets the attention for a while. I think once that happens, I'll be turning the pages quickly.

Book Details:
Genre: Mystery/Detective
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: 11/12/2013
Number of Pages: 212
ISBN: 9780062320803

Purchase from Amazon of Barnes and Noble.

I received a digital version of this novel from the author through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Omnimystery News said...

It's always tricky reading first in series titles, and even more so when the lead characters are unfamiliar with each other at the onset and time (pages) must be spent to set the stage for their future adventures together. I do think the series premise is a solid one, however, and look forward to reading it myself.

Cheryl said...

I agree. I think it will work once the stage has been set. The synopsis gives it promise and I truly believe the pace will pick up once the death of the vicar comes into play.