Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Abracadaver (1989)

I bought this book in Mexico for ten pesos, the equivalent of about a buck or less, from a vendor who had a table of old books for sale. It was a score for me because it's in English.

Abracadaver is #13 in the Father Dowling mystery series. I am familiar with the character from the American TV show and while the books came first (I believe), Abracadaver reads like a weekly episode. Characters have relationships that suggest romance but the connection never moves forward. Individuals have personality quirks that allow for a little substance but nothing they do is necessarily significant or valuable to the story. Perhaps this is why Raplph McInerny's books translate so well to television?

Overall, I give Abracadaver a big MEH and toss it in the giveaway pile. The crime was moderately interesting but the conclusion of the book was a big disappointment because the resolution relied on information we, the readers, were never given. If you are at all familiar with the Ten Commandments of Detective Writing, solutions like this are a cardinal sin.

While it might be a stretch to say that the setting in Abracadaver operates like a "character," what I will take away from the story in return for my time spent is McInerny's well-done description of the never-ending snow storm in Chicago and how it acts as a background to his action.