Friday, July 11, 2008

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

I just finished reading this mystery novel set in the Shetland islands. Frankly, I'm ambivalent.

There are things about this book that piss me off. Two girls are murdered and the immediate suspect is a man with mental illness. When he is arrested, the community heaves a huge sigh of relief. There! We don't have to worry. Only *damaged* people need be feared.

Of course, we readers know this solution is too easy. Of course the old man is not the culprit.

And yet, the resolution, while shocking, is fundamentally disappointing. The writer has tricked us by letting us into the head of the murderer without letting us know the whole story. This is the same technique Agatha Christie used in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Christie was much better at this.