Friday, May 5, 2017

Family Matters by Anthony Rolls

book cover
Family Matters
by Anthony Rolls

ISBN-13: 9781464207426
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: May 2, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Robert Arthur Kewdingham is an eccentric failure of a man. In middle age he retreats into a private world, hunting for Roman artefacts and devoting himself to bizarre mystical beliefs. Robert's wife, Bertha, feels that there are few things more dreadful than a husband who will persist in making a fool of himself in public. Their marriage consists of horrible quarrels, futile arguments, incessant bickering. Scarcely any friends will visit the Kewdinghams in their peaceful hometown Shufflecester.

Everything is wrong - and with the entrance of John Harrigall, a bohemian bachelor from London who catches Bertha's eye, they take a turn for the worse. Soon deep passions and resentments shatter the calm facade of the Kewdinghams' lives. This richly characterised and elegantly written crime novel from 1933 is a true forgotten classic.

My Review:
Family Matters is crime fiction that was originally published in 1933 and is set in England. This is one of the oddest crime novels I've ever read. It's not a mystery as we're told exactly who is poisoning Robert, how they are doing it, and what the bizarre result is. And yet, at the end, it's hard to say exactly who and what finally killed him. Also, we're apparently supposed to be rooting for the poisoners, so don't expect a typical mystery novel's ending.

The story started by describing the location and the many characters. As this information came all at once and before the scenes started, I quickly got muddled about the details. But correctly remembering these details didn't really seem to matter. Once the action started, the author still spent more time telling the reader about the characters than using scenes to show their personalities. On the other hand, I'm not sure I could take much more of Robert than we got, so maybe it's just as well. Anyway, the writing style is more like someone is telling you about this bizarre occurrence than watching the events unfold.

There was no sex. There was some bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this to people who enjoy bizarre crime stories with quirky characters.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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