There is also a great deal of overwrought, over-the-top writing. Such as:
We were to have scarcely any thoughts which didn't grow like dank morbid fungi from the fringes of all this horror. Nightmare days were to come, all out of drawing, dark shadowy hours with bright red streaks of fear running through them, nights of suspense with terror mounting and the helpless devitalized feeling of not being able to stop any of it.
Despite all the hand-wringing and foreshadowing (way more than in any book I've read so far--including the mother of the Had-I-But-Known, Mary Roberts Rinehart), this is a good, solid mystery. The characters are well-drawn and the dialogue is realistic and briskly moves the story along. The plot is well-done with lots of good clues. I was rather proud of myself for catching some of those hidden in the drawings. I enjoyed the novelty of having Kit sprinkle sketches of the mystery scenes and suspects throughout the book.
I do hope that future books (I have the next three in the series sitting on the TBR) will see Barber tighten up her story--cutting out the preliminary hemming and hawing and just jumping into the story as well as tidying up the endings. The villain reveal occurs a little early and there is a very long-winded explanation and wrap-up which takes up two more chapters. ★★★
John at Pretty Sinister Books has also reviewed this title. Please click on link to see his thoughts.
First line: I don't quite know how to start telling this.
An uncomfortable doubt began to take root in my mind, and I realized suddenly the full import of what was happening. This was the way it was to be. He was our friend, yet already we had begun to question him. How many more people, whom up until now we had accepted and trusted, were we to suspect under cover of our thoughts before this was through? (p. 53)This whole case is not only screwy, it's sheer insanity. (Detective Tony Shand; p. 67)
Last lines: I do not agree with her, quite. But then I have Kit.
Deaths = 4 (one stabbed; two shot; one fell from height)
~Non-DJ Crime Club Edition = my copy