FLEECED (2 june 2004)
Those who regularly visit this page will know that from time to time I discuss a book I have read.
The last book was Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell. Although I didn't write a very long weblog about it (after all, I have no intention to bore you), I was quite enthusiastic about it.
The book I read recently was Fleeced by Carol Higgins Clark.
You can imagine that after Henning Mankell's superb novel, its successor didn't have an easy job captivating my attention.
Well, I'm afraid, after such a brilliant predecessor, Higgins Clark's book failed miserably.
Where Mankell manages to produce very realistic human characters, all figures in Fleeced remain two-dimensional puppets that are hardly recognizeable as human beings.
The plot was not much better or worse than most novels that I read. But many situations lack credibility. For instance, I found it quite improbable that headlines in a newspaper would run like this: "CRIME SPREE AFFECTS SETTLERS' CLUB. CLUB PRESIDENT'S GIRLFRIEND STEALS FOOD FROM DEAD MEMBER".
At a certain moment we read about a lecture by a certain Kyle Fleming, who gives an amusing lecture about con artists. The book then gives one page of quotes from this lecture. But these quotes do not manage in any way to live up to the amusing quality that Higgins Clark attributes to the lecture.
As usual, I'll give you the blurb from the back of the book:
Regan Reilly -- the smart, saucy sleuth featured in all of Carol Higgins Clark's bestellers -- is in New York attending a crime conference organized by her celebrity-author mother ... and enjoying time with a new beau, Jack "no relation" Reilly. It's not long before trouble finds her: a family friend, Thomas Pilsner -- the president of the Settlers' Club on Gramercy Park -- desperately needs help. Two Settlers are dead, diamonds they were donating to the flagging club have vanished, and Thomas is rapidly becoming the prime suspect on all counts. As sharp as ever, Regan sets about solving the mystery of the disappearing diamonds and dead donors in order to save Thomas' neck ... before the real killer finds him.At the back of the book I read that the Calgary Herald qualifies the book as "good enough for holiday dessert". This may be so for Calgary Herald, but for me the book had too little substance to serve as a good meal.