The reading experience for this one was something else.
In the beginning, I was eagerly tearing the pages, desperate to learn more.
From about midway to the 3/4th marker, I got exhausted with the characters and the bottomless plot that was too complex to appreciate. I remembered why I rarely read English countryside mysteries, even books like these that honor them as well as ape them. I just don’t care about puzzle box mysteries that much.
But the last 1/4th of this book, when things start falling into place, rocketed me back to complete focus. And the ending was something I absolutely did not expect, satisfying as well as poignant.
This is quite a complex work. I’m stunned it’s Stuart Turton’s first novel. It’s clever in some spots, overheated in others but it never loses its purpose, even when its tires are spinning. It’s both an homage to the Agatha Christie mystery genre and it’s also somewhat of a fantasy/scifi book, though I don’t want to go into that too much without spoiling. Trust me, the less you know about this one, the better.
I don’t know that I would have put in the energy required to focus and finish this if not for Turton’s talent. While I had intentionally little connection with the main character, I was still sucked into what was going on page-after-page. The desire for answers carried me when I didn’t think I could go on. I was braced for a disappointing ending and was pleasantly surprised to find it was not.
It’s a labor of love but if you’re curious, I think you’ll like it.