>Joanne Harris, Gentlemen & Players (2005)

>
This novel should have been a real treat for me. A British whodunit which takes place in an old boys´ school, and a plot involving a fifteen-year-old grudge.

And I liked the environment, the plot idea and to some extent the ending. I have some reservations, however.

First, in my opinion it is confusing (and quite unnecessary) to have two first-person narrators: the Latin teacher Roy Straitley, and the murderer who felt excluded from the posh school as a child and now wants to take revenge because of this old grudge.

Second, the only character who really made an impression on me was the old Latin teacher. The others, teachers as well as school boys – including the murderer – seemed more like chess pieces in the game Ms Harris has set up than real people.

Third, the book reminded me too much of a riddle of the kind: a school employs five new teachers, Light, Meek, Easy, Dare and Keane [sic]. Who is the French teacher, the English teacher, the geography teacher, the murderer etc. So all the way through, the writer spends her energy on scattering clues rather than making the most of the interesting environment or giving us a really exciting drama. A puzzle mystery, but not as engaging as it could have been, and the final twist was not such a great surprise to me.

And as the drama unfolds and one teacher after the other is suspected and accused of various derelictions of duty and even crime, why does no one suspect that they have a Trojan horse in their midst? Well, if you love guessing at who did it, this might be something for you.

It will be very easy to find enthusiastic reviews of this library book, but there are people who share my view: see Bernadette´s review.


Joanne Harris, Dobbeltspil (2007)

Denne britiske krimi, som udspiller sig i en drengeskole fuld af gamle traditioner, burde have været en stor nydelse for mig, især pga plottet: hævn over en femten år gammel uret.

Jeg satte også pris på miljøet, plotideen og til en vis grad slutningen, men jeg har visse forbehold.

For det første er det efter min mening forvirrende (og fuldstændig unødvendigt) at have to jeg-fortællere: latinlæreren Roy Straitley, og morderen, som følte sig holdt uden for den fornemme skole som barn, og nu vil tage hævn.

For det andet var latinlæreren den eneste person, som gjorde indtryk på mig. De andre, lærere såvel som skoleelever – inklusiv morderen – mindede mere om skakbrikker end virkelige personer.

For det tredje mindede bogen mig alt for meget om en gåde af typen: en skole ansætter fem nye lærere, Light, Meek, Easy, Dare og Keane. Hvem er fransklærer, engelsklærer, geografilærer, morder osv. Så hele vejen gennem bogen bruger forfatteren sin energi på at strø små hints ud, i stedet for at få mest muligt ud af et spændende miljø, eller skabe et rigtig spændende drama. En puslespilskrimi, men ikke nær så fængslende, som den kunne have været, og den overraskende slutning kom ikke rigtigt bag på mig.

Og mens dramaet udvikler sig, og den ene lærer efter den anden bliver mistænkt for pligtforsømmelser og endda grove forbrydelser, hvorfor er der så ingen, som fatter mistanke om, at der er en trojansk hest på spil? Men hvis du går meget op i at gætte, hvem morderen er, så er bogen måske noget for dig.

Det er let at finde begejstrede anmeldelser af denne biblioteksbog, men der er dog læsere, som er enige med mig: se Bernadettes anmeldelse.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in British, Joanne Harris, review. Bookmark the permalink.

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