Fiction set in USA and EUROPE: the life of Maria Callas
Book set in Cambridge (a mystery for cat lovers)
8th August 2013
The Beauty of Murder by A K Benedict, book set in Cambridge.
In The Beauty of Murder, AK Benedict realizes a perfect mix of mystery, humour and delightfully managed time-travel fantasy. Although, I must say, as a hard-core Doctor Who fan, I found some of Benedict’s time-travelling elements a tad underwhelming; but if you’re willing to overlook that for fantasy’s sake, then you’re in for a treat.
Firstly, the choice of Cambridge as a location for this novelty crime novel was nothing short of perfect. The darkness and intrigue of the story could only have been achieved in a town as mysterious and historical as Cambridge, and the world-known prestige of the University adds a touch both to the historical impact and to the humour of the novel. The play with the cold, the darkness and the water is absolutely brilliant, and as a foreigner currently in one of the darkest and coldest cities in the UK, that is to say Newcastle, I cannot help but point out the irony that Stephen Killigan “has been cold since he arrived to Cambridge” (yes, for those of you who thought so, I have been cold since I arrived in Newcastle… except for the past two or three weeks, of course!). Also, as a child I visited Cambridge during a family vacation, and I must say that, architecturally speaking, there is no University city that I like better in the world, and I corroborate that it is beyond easy to imagine yourself in another time while walking by the Cam or entering into one of the colleges.
Secondly, the characters are masterfully written, with human quirks and obsessions and pains and joys gracefully and timely described. Inspector Jane Horne, especially, will deliver a continuous amount of surprises as she bares herself to us, and there is often the moment when you will realize that there is far more to her than will ever meet the eye. The other characters will also bring in their own traits into the mix, to create a well balanced cast. The only one that failed my expectations is, strangely enough, Jackamore Grass. I believe this to be because of my previously acknowledged obsession with Doctor Who. For me, Jackamore could have had a more outlined psyche, and in a way maybe he should explain a little bit more about his super power; not so much about how he got it or how it works, but about the possibility of certain events (that I shall not give away, or else the suspense of the book will break) really happening accordingly to such a super power.
Thirdly and lastly, not only do I have an ongoing obsession with Doctor Who and a profound and irreversible love for the UK, but I also have the deepest of loves for cats, and even though this is not the first or will be the last book which contains a cat as a character, it is certainly one of the best achieved. In a word, Gingerbread rocks! Oh, wait, that’s two words. No matter, trust me when I say that if you’re a cat lover, you will absolutely fall head over heels for her, and if you’re not, you will laugh along with the rest of us and maybe even find her endearing.
All in all, this was a great book, I found it immensely entertaining, and very well created. Enjoy the read, and cheers!
Sandra for the TripFiction Team
Sandra Tena joined us earlier this year, born in Durango, Mexico, but currently citizen of the world, and doing a master in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle, UK. She was finalist in Voces sin Fronteras II in Canada and in Cada loco con su tema in Mexico, and thus published in the corresponding anthologies of both contests. Her first novel,La Sombra Detrás, can be found in Amazon Kindle. She also has a collection of short stories waiting for publication. As of now in Newcastle, besides having the time of her life, she is working on her first novel in English, Iar, which is to be the first of a five-part fantasy saga for young adults titled Pentacle, and putting together her first collection of short stories in English. When she is not writing she is reading everything humanly possible given the shortness of each day, hanging out with amazing friends from all over the world, watching T.V. shows and movies that make her laugh and think, and missing her cats and the people she adores from across the ocean.