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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

The Secret Museum

The Secret Museum - Molly Oldfield

A beautiful hard-cover book that was ultimately a little bit disappointing.


The author visits a number of museums, primarily in the UK, US and Brazil to view objects that are rarely or never publicly exhibited for various reasons.  She openly admits in the introduction that she's chosen her favourites and writes 2-6 pages about each of the items, their histories, and why they aren't part of a museum's exhibits.


This could have been a spectacular book, but it missed the mark for a number of reasons:


if you're writing a book about treasures that are so precious they'll likely never see the light of day for most of the public, wouldn't you make large color photographs of each object a feature of the book's layout??  None of these items get the attention they deserve; if there's a photo at all (and some of them don't even have that) it's never bigger than a 1x2 inch or 3x5cm thumbnail in the outer margin of the text.  I can't begin to speculate on what possibly logic the author and editors could have been employing when making this design choice but it seems an utter waste to me.  I want to see these secret objects in full-page color, and the thumbnails just left me aggravated.


Weak writing:  The narrative was very laid-back and on the plus side would be accessible to younger readers if they had any interest in art or historical artefacts, but the flow was awkward and there were often whip-lash inducing segues to information that had little or no relevance to the subject.


Poor editing:  A few missing words throughout the book that left sentences non-sensical and a couple of outright errors, including worte instead of write, and using the wrong state abbreviation in the second chapter header (MA - which is Massachusetts, instead of MD for Maryland, where the facility is located).


I'm not sorry I have the book; there is quite a bit of interesting, new-to-me information here and in spite of its lack of photography, it's still a beautiful tome.  It's just not as good as it could have been.