Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Deadly Slipper

I just finished the thriller Deadly Slipper by Michelle Wan (Doubleday, 7/05). Half the time I couldn't decide if the writing was terrific or blase, but in the end I've decided the sheer terror and movement made it terrific. From about page 3, I was suspicious, nervous and terrified while reading the entire novel. In a murder mystery set in rural France, Wan brings together highly eccentric characters - all of whom could be either guilty or delusional! I was on edge each time I turned the page, eager yet scared to find what was around each corner. Bravo!

The events of the novel concern Mara, a Canadian expatriate decorator living in the Dordogne region of France. Her twin sister, Bedie, disappeared on a hiking trip in the region nineteen years earlier and Mara is convinced that she can solve the mystery of her sister's disappearance and possible murder based on a series of photographs of orchids she found in a moldy camera she believes belonged to her sister. The local police direct her to contact the local orchid expert, Julian, a British expatriate landscaper and author, who eventually becomes both a confidante and a suspect.

A half-dozen different theories to solve the mystery emerge along with new suspicious characters in a twisting plot that kept me guessing until the end. Even when the mystery may seem solved, it's not. A series of local aristocracy, villagers, outcasts, and expatriots round out the characters.

In addition to the suspense, there are the usual florid descriptions of French cuisine and landscape as well as orchid lore throughout the book. That's fine with me, as I am usually reading that kind of stuff anyway. I did find, however, that the bits between the very suspenseful action didn't seem to help the plot along and I was sometimes a little bored. The "romantic" interests in the book left me cold. Where was the French passion? Maybe lost because everyone's a suspect? Creepy!

Overall: B

1 comment:

Mina24 said...

It sounds interesting and I will put it on my TBR pile.