Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Cathedrals, Fog and Gothic Suspense
Title: The Unburied
By: Charles Palliser
If your brain is ready for a workout, you might want to try this intricately plotted atmospheric thriller set in Victorian England. It is a framed story--a mystery within a mystery wrapped in yet another mystery. And it has all of the elements you might expect in this genre: missing manuscripts, political intrigue, dark, dank streets, shadowy characters, and even a ghost or two.
The narrative moves back and forth in time and place. While the main plot focuses on Dr. Edward Courtine, a medieval scholar who has been invited to stay with an estranged old friend, it is paralleled by the telling of another mystery--one that unfolded in the town's cathedral back in the 17th century. An Editor's Foreword (and Afterword) provide the framework for everything in between, tantalizing the reader at first and then pulling some of the pieces together at the end.
Set aside a few foggy nights for this book--once the story takes hold you'll find yourself turning back to reread sections again and again in an attempt to put all of the clues together.