DJVU The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves (Goodreads Author) without signing online read shop phoneDJVU The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves (Goodreads Author) without signing online read shop phone
“All writers are parasites” Stepping into The Glass Room is a little like being transported back to the golden age of mystery stories: a windswept landscape, isolated country house, disparate people thrown together, crime scenes mimicking their fictional counterparts and a plot liberally strewn with blind alleys, red herrings and mis-directions. This book has all the elements of Agatha Christie at her best.DI Vera Stanhope, at the request of a frantic neighbour who’s mislaid his wife, heads out to the Writers’ Retreat, where publishing-establishment figures and literary hopefuls are gathered to see what each can learn, and plagiarise, from the rest. Vera hopes to talk sense into the errant wife; she isn’t expecting to find a corpse, (Professor Ferdinand, in the conservatory, with the kitchen knife). Nor her neighbour the prime suspect. As the Writers’ House draws us in, the book’s cosy veneer sloughs away, because the players in the mystery (those who aren’t police are writers) are anything but appealing. Writers, in Cleeves’ world, are shallow, self-absorbed and egotistic, as willing to stab you in the back (literally), as they are to pen a harsh review. These writers are greedy for fame and recognition and worryingly, are all too credible. One has to hope Cleeves isn’t writing from personal experience, but given her number of years in publishing, she might well be. Cleeves plots skilfully, the clues are all there in this clever and convincing mystery, but most readers I suspect will miss them, so subtly and delicately are they laid. But where Cleeves excels is in characterisation, particularly with the lovable, exasperating Vera, about whom she writes with all the easy, slightly contemptuous familiarity of the long-standing best friend. The book gathers pace to its perfect Christie-esq conclusion, when the suspects are brought together and one almost expects to see Poirot strut into the drawing room, kiss Vera on the cheek and ask her how she’s getting on. Cleeves (and Vera) fans might baulk at my giving The Glass Room four rather than five stars but this is nothing more than a reflection of personal taste. The claustrophobic, country-house mystery simply isn’t my favourite of the sub genres, but those who love it (and they rank in their millions) might well consider The Glass House to be one of the best crime novels of the year.
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