Wednesday, March 29, 2017

An Antidote for Avarice

I think I picked up one of Caroline Roe's mysteries at Bouchercon, 2003.  Cure for a Charlatan was set in medieval Spain and I was ready to expand my historical mystery horizons from England and Ancient Rome.  I don't remember much (other than that the detective is a blind physician living in the Jewish quarter and assisted by his daughter), but I must have enjoyed it because I bought most of the rest of the series.   They then sat on my shelf, almost undisturbed, until my recent round of pre-shelf-clearing evaluations.

I say "almost undisturbed" because when I opened An Antidote for Avarice, I found an April, 2011 train pass marking the start of the third chapter.  Obviously I started the book almost 6 years ago and didn't get far.  Add in my shelf-clearing mood and the book's chances of donation were high.  An Antidote for Avarice would have to be fantastic for me to keep it and read the rest of the series.  It wasn't.

Perhaps I'd have enjoyed the story more if less had taken place on the road.  I'm not a road-trip person, agreeing with Miss Piggy that if getting there is half the fun, you're going somewhere really boring.  The ennui of the trudging caravan (consisting of Isaac and his family, his patron the Bishop of Gerona, some nuns, and several soldiers) gave the various attacks, ambushes, and murders a vaguely disconnected feel.  The first murder is that of a messenger, then there's a man left for dead along the road, followed by attacks on the travelers - they all blended together and I just didn't care to figure out whether and/or how they were connected.  An Antidote for Avarice wasn't bad, but it just didn't grab me.  Hopefully someone browsing the shelves at the Book Corner will enjoy it more.

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