Skip to main content

Review: Our Lady of Pain, by Elena Forbes

When a well-known London art dealer is found murdered in Holland Park, the members of the Barnes Murder Squad are called in to investigate. The victim, Rachel Tenison, was an introverted young woman who had complicated relationships with her brother and best friend. Later, the squad gets a tip from the journalist that this murder might be connected with the murder of a university lecturer more than a year previously. There are a number of similarities between the two murders: both women were discovered lying in the same position, and both had experimented with S&M. In addition, Rachel was found with an excerpt from a Swinburne poem in her mouth, while Catherine Watson was a Swinburne scholar. I cringe to use the words "police procedural," but that's essentially what this novel is.

The Squad is an eclectic group: there's Sam Donovan, who lives with her sister; Mark Tartaglia, whose sister keeps trying to set him up with her friends; and Simon Turner, who's having marriage problems. Forbes delves into the lives of these detectives, revealing them as more than just detectives on the hunt for a killer. That, to me, was one of the strengths of this book. It's a suspenseful, solid mystery with ends that tie up neatly, although I thought some of the coincidences were, well, a little too coincidental (I don't want to give up too much of the plot here). Forbes writes in succinct, clear prose, and this book is a fast-paced read. Our Lady of Pain is the second book in a series; references are made to the first, Die With Me, throughout.

Comments

bookchronicle said…
Our Lady of Pain sounds familiar to The Somnambulist by Barnes (with a supernatural edge to it).
Danielle said…
I've not heard of this author--will check her out!
Iliana said…
I read Die With Me and thought it was a good solid first mystery. I'm curious to check this one out because of the characters mainly. Can I ask why you don't like to use the term police procedural?
Gillian said…
Do you have a galley? I'll make a book trade with you!

Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

January:
1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

February:
1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

March:
1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…