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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.

A Lighthearted Quest (Julia Probyn, #1) - DNF

A Lighthearted Quest - Ann Bridge

There's a good story in here somewhere, and I tried to stick with it long enough to find it, but in the end I couldn't do it.  


I often lament poor copyediting/editing when I come across it, but in truth, I can generally overcome it; it might slow me down, but I'm able to understand the writing.  This is the first book I've ever read where the copyediting was so poor that I struggled in places to understand what the hell the sentence was supposed to be saying.


A quick example:

Of course Mrs. Monro had no idea how big the boat was. Edina might know, she said; but Edina was out seeing about draining those fields on McNeil's farm, that poor John had been so keen on —"It was standing over those wretched drainers, in the East wind, that made him ill and killed him," said Mrs. Monro, beginning to dab at her eyes.


By the old rules, that semicolon is before 'but' is acceptable though clumsy, but the comma after farm, on top of the em dash ... and it's not just a one off; there are multiple occurrences of these clunkers, along with missing words and other more run-of-the-mill copyediting gaffs.


Then there's the editing.  This book is so much more tell than show.  After reading the efficient and aesthetically pleasing style of Conan Doyle, this was a slog.  This is a subjective complaint; after all, part of the draw of this book (and series apparently) is that Julia is traveling to exotic locals, and painting the picture plays a heavy hand in making the style work.  I suspect I'd not have minded all the detailed telling had it been more grammatically graceful, but coupled with the clunky writing it snapped the thread of my patience.


Underneath all of this though, there is a good story.  As it's the first book of what looks to be a well established series, it might be an outlier and subsequent books are better, perhaps.  Bridge does bring the characters (though the MC was difficult for me, because I kept imagining a British Lana Turner) and setting to vivid life, and the plot shows a lot of promise.  But none of it was compelling enough to inspire me to overcome the hurdles of the technically awkward writing.


(This was a Booklikes-opoly read for square #35 and I read 113 pages for a total of $2.00)