I kidnapped this book. I’ve read previous Stevenson books, and enjoyed them, and though I purchased it for my sister for Christmas, when the time came I found myself unable to wrap it or hand it over. Instead, I did what any sensible sister would do in these circumstances.
I had Mr GirlWhoGotOverIt tie the book up in light rope, took a polaroid of it, and, like Tom Hanks in The Burbs (but with more nefarious purpose), wrote a note reading “[Walter]: I have your book.” Then I wrapped all of that in a box, and gave her that for Christmas instead.
And, my friends, it was a winning play. I would NOT have wanted to read this second, with my sister gleefully awaiting my opinion, as I’m now awaiting hers.
Your mileage may vary on this one, to be honest. It comes off a little smug, the protagonist a bit of a know-it-all about murder mysteries. At times, it can be a bit hard to see the bigger picture of the story through the structural conceit.
I loved it, though. It’s a departure tonally from his previous two books (you should totally read Either Side of Midnight, for the record), with Ern, our protagonist, a bumbler and at least as lost as I would be in similar circumstances. The Cunningham Family is well realised, loud, and realistically grating (I’m the Spreadsheet Lady, I’m afraid).
In a nod to the old school murder mystery, the family is trapped by a snow storm at a resort, with a murderer. Its all very self-consciously Agatha Christie or Lord Peter Wimsey. I highly recommend it, if you’ve ever read either – or even if you haven’t. Ern and the fam are worth spending time with.