I read the first book in this series, Case Histories, about a year or so ago after having already read Life After Life. I thought Case Histories was a little throwaway (or tear-away) but really really really liked Life After Life.
I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to read this one except that I found the audiobook and even then I was hesitant and kept putting it off.
Turns out I really liked it. A lot of the stuff I didn’t like about the first book was gone…the meandering, the fiction that the actually mysteries were that interesting, and then the needless addition of multiple mysteries.
This one is tight as far as narratives go. Which is weird because it’s so highly convoluted of a form. But it works.
I would describe the form this way: you are standing in a fixed point. The different threads of narrative orbit around on different sized and different shaped orbits and as their turn comes around, you are able to glimpse more and more of the story and more and more of the information needed to provide background and context. Sometimes there’s repetition, sometimes there is reformation from a different perceptive, but little by little the whole shape of the thing comes to bear.
Because mysteries are kind of silly in general, especially given that Martin Canning’s books exactly exemplify this, this different format really takes hold and shows us that mysteries are not puzzles, but a lack of context to understand what is in front of us.