Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Seventy-Seven Clocks, by Christopher Fowler

Seventy-Seven Clocks
By Christopher Fowler
2005

Well, I'll be damned. Someone's been reading Agatha bleeding Christie. (Raymond Land)

The first thing I noticed about Seventy-Seven Clocks was how whopping big it was. I've ranted (rather mildly) about long mystery novels on a number of occasions thus far and, as a general rule, once they pass the 200-page mark my interest begins to wane with each additional page. Normally I wouldn't go near a book that clocks in at just under 500 pages but since it was a Bryant & May book I forged bravely on ahead.

And I'm glad I did. Of the four of Fowler's novels that I've read and reviewed thus far, I'd rank this one at the top of the heap - by a longshot. Which is not to say that any of the others were particularly shabby, because they certainly weren't.

I'm not generally keen on conveying much of the plot in my reviews. I'll say even less about this one for the simple reason that Fowler has really outdone himself this time around and to spell anything out would really spoil the fun of discovering it all for yourself.

About all I'm going to say is that it takes place in the Seventies, the body count is rather high, the murders tend to be quite bizarre (and one comes from so far out of left field that I almost dropped the book) and the motivation for it all is very farfetched. And yet Fowler handles the latter so skillfully that you find yourself thinking that just maybe it could have happened. Or maybe not.

Enough said about this one. Highly recommended. Go read all 496 pages for yourself and see if you don't agree.

2 comments:

  1. Fowler is terrific at keeping a high page count but cramming in a complex plot in all those pages... but beware of WHITE CORRIDOR. It's a terrific locked-room mystery, but under no accounts should you read the blurb on the cover (someone was playing the Let's Drop Cutesy Hints About the Solution game again). It's a book that I found far too long, but I admit that it was largely due to my frustration at a slow plot when, on page 1, I already knew who was going to be murdered and what the solution would be.

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  2. The hardcover edition has considerably less pages, Bill. My favorites so far have been THE MEMORY OF BLOOD, B&M OFF THE RAILS, and WHITE CORRIDOR (but only the locked room portion of the book, not the serial killer part which is routine). THE WATER ROOM is pretty darn good too but mostly because of the history of London's underground rivers that serves as the backgorund for the book. (I see you've reveiwed most of those already.)

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