Archive for 'Marberg, Peg'
Faux Finished is a good example of a mystery that just doesn’t quite make it. It has an intriguing main character in Jean Hastings, a fiesty interior decorator who has launched a successful mid-life career. It has a lovely setting as Jean and her daughter redecorate the local country club with a colorful history in its original Art Deco style. And it has a murder in the first few pages for those of us who don’t like to wait too long for the body to appear.
However, this book lacks sophisticated plotting and resorts to tricks that mystery readers don’t like. Halfway through the book, Jean calls on a friend who is a former CIA employee and now does background checks. Jean requests some information from him, but Marberg doesn’t tell us what it is or who it pertains to. We aren’t allowed to know what this vital information is until after the mystery is solved – and it isn’t even hinted at before then.
So instead of giving us the important clues, Marberg fills us up with local color and history and sends her characters off on bunny trails that, we assume, will all tie in at the end but don’t really.
I believe that when authors withhold information from the reader they do it for two reasons: for effect (popular among mysteries with dynamic detectives who aren’t the main character) and because of poor plotting. And I am putting use of this technique in Faux Finished down to the latter. I think Marberg just never found a way to introduce the information into the story.
Faux Finished appears to be Marberg’s first book and I am hoping she will transport Jean Hastings to a better adventure in the next one.
Favorite character? Mary, Jean’s friend and foil. Did I guess it? No. Will I read another? Yes.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007