Monday, November 27, 2017

Death for My Beloved: Mini-Review

Death for My Beloved (originally published as Enduring Old Charms; 1947) by Doris Miles Disney is a rather sordid little inverted crime novel. Inverted crime stories aren't my all-time favorite anyway. I prefer to have it all be mysterious and to try and gather the clues and discover the answer before the author reveals all at the end. Knowing who the culprit is at the beginning takes all the fun out of it for me--even when (as Disney does) the author throws a curve ball or two into the mix.

So...Charles Orr is just a low man on the company's office totem pole when he starts paying attention to the late boss's widow. There's not much of an age difference...just 20 years or so, so of course there isn't any gossip at all about his motives in dining so often with Mrs. Harris. Amelia Harris falls head over heels in love with the handsome young man who still finds her attractive. She blushes to think that he could want to be with her...and soon she's a blushing bride. 

Whether Charles had any affection for his new wife at all doesn't really matter, because he soon realizes how little he fits into the society he's married into and he also realizes that the bloom he brought to Amelia's cheeks with his first attentions can't really hide the fact that she's so much older than he. Then the whispers start about his gold-digging ways and Amelia begins to doubt him--indulging in jealous rants whenever he pays the least attention to a woman younger than her. She begins to drink, making herself even less attractive to her younger husband. And he begins to think about what life would be like without her. Thinking leads to planning and soon events are set in motion--ending with Amelia's death. But did Charles really kill her? That's the curve ball that Disney lobs at the reader. She sets everything up like a standard inverted mystery and then brings in the element of doubt. 

Some readers may like the inverted style. And some of those readers may especially appreciate the way Disney manipulates that style. I can see that. I'm just not one of those readers. For me, the ending fell flat and, honestly, I had to skim through the middle portions just to keep moving on the story and be able to read enough of it to claim it (and it's not even a long book). No rating on this one since I didn't fully read it all.

[Finished on 11/21/17]

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