This book by Lucy Brazier follows the adventures of a former police woman who takes a job as Deputy Head Porter at Old college hoping for a cushy job full of fine lunches however fate has older ideas as a deadly mystery unfolds.
What I didn’t like;
The book has the feel of being unfinished, don’t get the wrong idea there is a lot to commend it however it would have greatly benefited from a structural edit.
The first third the heroine talks a lot about the sexism she faces but the author never showed any of it. She could have had a lot of fun with this, having old and infirm professors insisting on carrying heavy objects because she is a lady. Collage processions disrupted because of people hold a door they should be passing through in order. There are also the times when she would have face the ‘But you’re a girl reaction!’
Unused sub plots; Not a lot really happens in the first half of the book, a lot of amusing incidence about college life but very little adds to the plot. It would have benefited from a few interesting and juicy sub plots. There were several times when you start to think this looks interesting then in comes to nothing. I daren’t give any examples because I don’t want to give and spoilers. But a little more mystery would have brought this book up to another level.
Unused characters; this follows on from my last point there is a cast of very colourful characters that are not always used to their full potential, I want to know more about quite a few of them but was left disappointed.
I am guessing the author is planning more books, which I hope she does but I would advise against writing the current book with too much put in for the benefit of the sequel it leaves the reader feeling slightly cheated.
The prologue; nice story but reads like people pretending and then occasionally forgetting they are medieval!
What I did like;
I liked a lot about this book, I hope what I said in the first section doesn’t put you off.
The writing style; The author has an excellent writing style, it’s light and whimsical never taking herself to seriously it makes the book a pleasant read. Reminded me a little bit of Terry Pratchett
The characters, she has written some wonderfully colourful characters although slightly over the top they still worked well with the style of the book.
Refereeing to the characters by their titles and not names, this added authenticity and quirkiness again reminiscent of Terry Pratchett, I half expected the senior Wrangler to turn up.
The Plot; it could have had a little more depth and few extra twists and turns but still a good one!
It’s a good book with quite a few flaws. Despite its problems it left me slightly happier for reading it and I would recommend it as a good light read. I’m only going to give it 3 ½ stars but feel mean for doing so. I would have loved to say it’s a 5-star book which so nearly could have been.