The sleepy Sussex village of Lakehurst has suddenly become a place of terror and night shadows. After dark it is hardly safe to go out, to the consternation of the newly arrived vicar, trendy young Nick Lawrence, and Inspector Dominic Tennant of the Sussex Police Force. For a serial killer is on the loose, one who leaves notes at the scenes of their crimes signed "The Acting Light of the World". The local inhabitants are all eccentric, to say the least of it, and Reverend Lawrence and Inspector Tennant are going to need some good fortune if they are to discover the true identity of the killer...
©2010 Deryn Lake (P)2010 Soundings
We downloaded this book to take with us on a weekend away to while away the motorway hours. Absolutely brilliant, the narrator brought all the characters to life and even made the women credible.
The story was a little midsomer, but really intriguing, the well drawn characters only teetered slightly on the characture and were quickly friend or foe.
I cannot recommend this book too highly as a light hearted entertainment, will make weeding, ironing, washing up totally bearable and enhance a lazy hour sitting in the sun.
It's difficult for me to say whether I liked this book or not. This is a new series for Lake and the characters still need to be fleshed out, but I found it very hard to like most of them. I really wanted to see more of Nick, and I enjoyed the relationship between Tennent and Potter. The story was too drawn out, had too many red-herrings and the solution to the murders was anti-climactic and did not really fit into the story...it came out of nowhere (and not in a good way like when you say "I never saw that coming!").
I have a real soft-spot for English village murder mysteries and Daryn Lake is very competent writer. I enjoyed the two main characters - Nick Lawrence, the recently appointed modern vicar, and Inspector Tennant - and the setting ripe for a good set of murders as well as a ghost.
What caused me to give it less of a rating was a very strange undercurrent of pervasive homophobia. I could understand if this was an attitude held by one or two unreliable narrators, but it seems to be a socially held norm within the story.
If the book had been written in the 40's or 50's I could have looked past it the way one has to look past racism in the Agatha Christie or Patricia Wentworth novels - they were both women of their times and reflected prevailing social attitudes - but this is written in the 21st century.
The other problem was the superficially drawn, sexually predatory female characters of 'unspecified' age. It's a common cliche for certain male authors, but I was surprised to find it here.
It seems to me that the author was torn between paying homage to some of the earlier 20th century murder mystery writers with their penchant for stereotypes and developing a rather modern, complex and in-depth portrait of an Anglican priest with an interest in the puzzles of human behaviour.
It really didn't work together for me.
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