If you’ve been following my blog for a while, it probably won’t be much of a surprise to learn than I absolutely adore Charlaine Harris. I thought I’d read all her books until I was at Waterstones and spotted this double bill, which I think was her debut! The first book (Sweet and Deadly) was released in 1981!
I have to say, this really comes across in the book. Not that it makes it any less enjoyable to read, but there are certain parts where you think ‘Why doesn’t she just do xxx’, then you realise that xxx doesn’t exist yet! For a start, Catherine works for the local newspaper, but still uses a typewriter. Then there are the references to ‘the black part of town’, and the way that Harris refers to non-white people in her book may have been how it was back in the southern states of america in the 80s, but it all feels a little bit off in 2014.
As you can probably imagine if you’ve read any of Harris’ other books, the main character is a young girl without parents, short, plain looking and unlucky in love. But as usual, she comes into her own throughout the course of the book, deciding to give herself a makeover and finding a guy who seemingly loves her for who she is.
If only she hadn’t just found the reads body of her father’s old nurse. And if only she didn’t think that the death of the nurse and the deaths of her parents were somehow related. And if only she didn’t think she could do a better job of investigating that the police.
I did really like the book though, I love the style of Harris’ writing and the laid back style of crime fiction, not quite as hard hitting or fast paced as some more modern crime fiction. The book did seem quite short, although I read it on Kindle since it was much cheaper, so I don’t know how many pages it actually was. To me, the ending felt slightly rushed , all of a sudden, Catherine knows exactly who the killer is, and we have to wait while she runs to confront the killer until all is revealed.
But as this was Harris’ debut novel, I think we can understand why it may not be quite as fluid as her later novels, but it was still very much an exciting read.