Review: A Time to Die

A Time to Die A Time to Die by Hilda Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am very conflicted about this book. On the one hand there are quite a few things I did not like at all – the character of the detective for one. Mark East is overbearing and supercilious. He is a PI but the way he lords over the sheriff, who is shown to be real pathetic in discharging his duties and further takes orders by East so meekly that it beggars belief.

Secondly, the writer throws you in the midst of a certain characters who she assumes you know but not having read the first book I was totally at sea and how many times will we be told that it was unbearably hot and humid. It came to a point that I was ready to shake East and ask him as to why he had decided to come to such a place if he knew it was that bad in summers.

Lastly, I have always found it disconcerting to see children address parents by their names and to read a nine year old girl addressing her father thus was really offensive to me.

On the other hand, despite all this, where the book scores – and scores big – is in the tension that the author creates. The oppressive atmosphere and the feeling of something BAD about to happen is done so well that I got the chills (it got to the point where I stopped reading it in the night and curled inside my quilt) and am quite looking forward to reading more by this author. Thus, the four stars though had Goodreads allowed half stars, I’d have given it Three and a Half.


First Line: It was five o’clock in the afternoon and the burning August sun still registered contempt for time.

Series: Mark East# 2.
First Published: 1945

Source: Open Library

View all my reviews

13 thoughts on “Review: A Time to Die

  1. This is one of the two novels I haven't read by Lawrence so interesting to see a review of it. Don't remember Mark East being too irritating in the other stories, then again I've not read about him during a heat wave lol Out of the two East novels I have read I'd recommend Blood Upon the Snow the most.


  2. I know what you mean about the power of building up tension in a novel, Neeru. Sometimes that's all it takes to spark an interest in a story, even if you don't find the characters particularly sympathetic.


  3. Interesting review. I have read books that had several aspects that bothered me but overall were very entertaining. Those books are difficult for me to review. I do want to try a book by Hilda Lawrence someday.


  4. Thanks Tracy. I agree they do pose quite a difficulty but I was feeling generous so went for a four-star rating:). I look forward to your reading a Lawrence.


  5. Mathew, it is available @ Open Library, so you could borrow it from there. However, you can check to see if BLOOD UPON THE SNOW is available on kindle as that's the first book in the series. I have heard good things about it too.


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