Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sharyn McCrumb. The Windsor Knot (1990)

     Sharyn McCrumb. The Windsor Knot (1990) Number 5 in the Elizabeth Peters series. She is to be married quickly so that she and her new husband may attend a Royal Garden Party in Edinburgh, where Cameron Dawson is exercising his marine biology skills. The wedding will take place at the Chandler mansion (locale of the first story), but a small matter of murder might cause a mess. Fortunately, most of the teccing is done by the local sheriff, who does however call on Elizabeth’s forensic anthropology skills. The wedding proceeds without a hitch, the criminal is found, and Elizabeth and Cameron attend the Party. All’s well that ends well.
     The novel seems oddly incomplete. A number of side plots are started, but are dealt with perfunctorily. The characters and social context are sketched amusingly, but I feel that many opportunities for more satisfying satire and comedy were passed up. McCrumb has a sharp eye for human weakness, and is able to suggest depths of character that make us want to know more. That curiosity is not assuaged in this book. It looks as if McCrumb had a good outline for a story, but for some reason didn’t want to take the time to write a complete version. Perhaps her publishers didn’t want to invest in a bigger book. Perhaps she felt she’d done all she could with Elizabeth Peters, and decided to get her safely married off in order to end the series. Since I haven’t read the intervening books, I can’t tell. Anyhow, this book is more of a love-romance than a crime story. Pleasant entertainment. ** (2010)

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