Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 12: Vacation with Julie!

The Late ScholarThe Late Scholar by Jill Paton Walsh
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Not a fan. Thrones, Dominations worked; Presumption of Death was carried by the plot; Attenbury Emeralds began to lose any strong Sayers voice, and The Late Scholar is a train wreck that reads like it was rushed to publication without an effective edit. For example, on p. 345 someone says, "We must make emends." I looked it up, and the definition is "Emend means to improve by editing (especially a text)", so I thought, "Okay, this is a scholarly mystery so Paton Walsh was probably using it in a slightly show-offy way to make us think it was a typo but it's really an obscure word that's totally appropriate." HOWEVER: the gentleman in question is NOT discussing editing or improving a written work at all--he really means, "We must make amends." Sloppy work. The whole authorial voice is gone: Peter isn't witty; Harriet isn't controlled and intelligent; the narration isn't understated and insightful. I might need to read a genuine Sayers to get the taste of this one out of my mouth, so to speak. A clear lesson that more is not better. Don't read beyond Presumption of Death.

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