#BlackHistoryMonth #ReadIndies Murder in G Major and Spare Room

Usually my reading depends merely on my moods but this month I made it a point to pick up books written by Black authors. Coincidently both of them turned out to be published by independent publishers.

Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon

This book began in a fantastic manner. Gethsemane Brown, an accomplished violinist comes to Ireland to be part of an orchestra , only for the part to be snagged by the conductor’s mistress. To add to her woes, her luggage gets lost in transit. Not willing to return back to her (high-achieving) family in the US and be termed a failure, Gethsemane (how does one pronounce it?) takes up the job of a music teacher at a village’s school in Ireland and now has mere six-weeks to prepare the school’s musical team for an all-important musical competition. On the first day at the cottage that she is staying in (how she is allowed never became very clear except perhaps that Billy McCarthy who has inherited the cottage is a Good Samaritan), she is confronted by the ghost of world-famous Music Composer Eamon, uncle of Billy. Twenty-five years earlier, Eamon had been accused of killing his wife Orla (the one with the halo around her head) and then committing suicide. Eamon however tells Gethsemane that he never did so and wants her to convince the current police-officer to reopen the case and clear his name because only then would he be able to have a ghostly reunion with his wife.

I had no idea before starting the book that it involved a paranormal angle, so it was quite startling when the ghost made his appearance and I loved the snarky exchanges between our heroine and the ghost. Also I liked the fact that nowhere is a great deal made about the protagonist’s colour. Gethsemane is an accomplished young woman who knows how to get her way and except for a rude indirect reference by an unlikeable character and a few passages spoken by herself, I wouldn’t even have noticed her colour. So this was a refreshing change from some texts that I have read where colour remains the predominant marker of the main character’s self.

On the other hand, the author makes Gethesmane a little too much of a virtuoso. She is the teacher who knows how to handle unruly students, she is the detective who unearths all the clues, she is the one the handsome Irish men find so fascinating, she is the one with all the quips, she is the one to whom people unburden their woes, she is the champion softball pitcher, she is…. suffice to say that halfway through the novel, she began to get on my nerves. Also however quaint a setting might be, I find it hard to believe that a garden full of poisonous plants would be allowed to flourish in the church’s precincts and people who offer poisonous sandwiches to others be allowed to roam about freely. The mystery is paper-thin, certain characters are introduced only to be killed in an off-hand manner (surprisingly nobody grieves over them despite it being a close-knit community), the MC talks loudly about her suspicions to the Police-officer in a pub, and nobody would be surprised to see who wins the musical championship despite the fact that Gethesmane hardly spends any time with the students, busy as she is with bumping against dishy police inspectors (and inhaling their after-shave); drinking copious amounts of liquor; cycling round the town; and being a general busy-body.

So a very promising start flounders very badly which is a pity because I really loved it in the beginning.

*

First Line: Gethesmane Brown leaned closer to the windshield.

Publishing Details: 2016. Henery Press, 2016.

Series: Gethesmane Brown #1

Other Opinions: Criminalelement; Missreadbooks; Mysteriousreviews

*

My other read Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell too began well when a young woman takes a room on rent in a Victorian mansion. However, the irritating protagonist left me cold and the entire mystery could have been solved in just one heart-to-heart chat with her parents (who behave in a manner that beggars belief – and one of them a doctor!!!) These books marketed as twisty-dark psychological thrillers are certainly not my cup of tea – sadly though I never seem to learn.

*

First Line: He really meant it this time.

Publishing Details: 2019. Cambridge: Bloodhound Books, 2019.

Other Opinions: CofeeandCrime; Crimefictionlover; Rathertoofondofbooks

6 thoughts on “#BlackHistoryMonth #ReadIndies Murder in G Major and Spare Room

  1. Sorry to hear this one didn’t live up to its promise at the end, Neeru. It’s an interesting premise for a story, and I do like it that it’s not a big deal that this character is Black. At the same time, characters who are too perfect are not relatable, and I find that off-putting. Still, a great premise for a story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do like when an author doesn’t make a big deal of someone’s colour or gender or orientation – so many books get fixated on these things at the moment. What a pity it went downhill, but yes, she does sound like an irritating heroine.

    Liked by 1 person

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