The Book of Mirrors is the story of a murder of a university professor which took place in the 1980s. The crime is unsolved and the case closed, until one of the professor’s students writes a manuscript containing their recollections of the situation. The student dies before they can get the manuscript published, but their initial draft of the first few chapters ends up in the hands of a literary agent. Tasked with completing the story, the agent attempts to decipher the many deceptions and complex relationships between the subjects involved in order to uncover the truth.
I’m aware that this book has been tipped to be one to look out for but honestly, I really didn’t enjoy reading it. I found it to be incredibly badly written. The authors first language isn’t English and I think this is the reason that the sentence structure is clumsy, confusing and sometimes downright pointless. As a random example:
“So on that morning (I hate sentences that start with so, such bad grammar) when his wife had been killed, Derek rang the professor whose home number he’d found previously rummaging through Anne’s stuff.”
See what I mean? You can understand what is meant but it doesn’t exactly flow. I found this very off-putting. There’s also an intensely annoying girlfriend character with an amazing ability to turn off her emotions:
“‘you know, a colleague told me today that she’s just found out she’s pregnant. She was so happy! I went to the restroom and cried for 10 minutes, I just couldn’t stop…(her boyfriend pats her hair)…Maybe now you ought to tell me that I’m not alone and that you love me, at least a little bit,’ she said. ‘At least that’s what would have happened in a chick lit book.’ ‘Sure, you’re not alone and I love you a little bit Hon’…(she doesn’t believe him)…’All right, I’ve pulled myself back together, I’m sorry. You know, you seem really caught up in this story.”
Because that’s how women react when they talk about longing for a baby with a partner who admits that he doesn’t love her.
There’s only a few female characters but they’re often described in terms of their attractiveness to men. Annoying! As most of the characters are older men (the literary agent turned sleuth, a retired police officer, his still serving friends, the professor etc.) it’s hard to work out who is who and in which timeframe they’re currently in. All the jumping backwards and forwards got quite confusing (however, this does get better as the book progresses).
I thought the story was incredibly slow to get moving. At almost halfway through the murder investigation was just starting to get going. Coupled with not knowing who was who I started to get quite bored.
The main issue that I had with this book was the outcome of the murder enquiry. As always, there’s no spoilers in my reviews but suddenly, a random piece of information is dropped in to the story which leaves no doubt as to what happened. There is literally no way that the reader can predict a major factor in the outcome of the investigation. What is the point of writing a whodunnit if you’re not given all of the necessary information? Surely these books should give the reader several options for the murderer, then a few red herrings, then slowly reveal what’s happened based on clues that the reader could have picked up on?
In conclusion, I found this book quite dull, quite confusing, a bit annoying and difficult to read. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Overall rating: 4/10.
Please note that I read this book for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Netgalley! I also read this book as part of the Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 #33 Read a book set in two different time periods.