The Blackest Bird: A Novel of History and Murder

by Joel Rose | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 9781847670588 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Rivercassini of London, Greater London United Kingdom on 3/1/2008
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Rivercassini from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, March 01, 2008
This book was sent to me for review via the LibraryThing early reviewer programme.

Journal Entry 2 by Rivercassini from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, April 10, 2008
To call this a gently-paced mystery would be to over state the speed of a snail. Indeed, there are lots of good things about this book. It's nicely structured and packed full of interesting insights into literary, and criminal, life in 1840s New York. The picture of Old Hays, the venerable detective set to investigate the murder of the beautiful but poor 'segar' girl, Mary Rogers, is engaging and warm and his daughter, Olga is for the most part likeable even if her diligent interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe's writing, ostensibly for her father, is a heavy-handed device to enlighten the reader. But the prose, oh the prose, is at times tortuous, reducing the reading experience to a wade through teacle. Rose's attempts to recapture the literary style of the period result in a language which is both inconsistent and irritating. And the plot, the detection of the murder, is continually side-lined in favour of demonstrations of the author's, admittedly extensive, research. There was just enough good to keep me reading to the end but not enough to keep me from wondering why I did. I don't think I could recommend this book to anyone other than those fanatical about 19th century New York or the works of Edgar Allan Poe, who may enjoy one of the highlights of the novel - a reintepretation of his penmanship which does at least offer a new perspective.

Read April 2008

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