First reviewed on MISHA'S BLOG way back in November 2010 I thought I'd repost this for those of you who may have missed it.
BONE IDLE by SUZETTE A. HILL.
The Reverend Francis Oughterard is the vicar of St Botolph's and genteel murderer of parishoner Mrs Elizabeth Fotherington. So far excluding arrest (but with fears of imminent exposure), he is in the grip of his blackmailing pal, the shady Nicholas Ingaza, who forces him to steal a valuable figurine of a prancing pig. Naturally the project backfires, plunging the hapless vicar into further skulduggery and leading to embarrassing complications for him and his pompous bishop, Horace Clinker. Once again it is up to the world-weary cat, Maurice and intrepid mongrel, Bouncer, to save the reverends bacon.
..... From the outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE: When Detective Sergeant Sidney Samson appeared on my doorstep to announce the reopening of the Elizabeth Fotherington murder enquiry I thought at first that I was hallucinating.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (was there one?): "Can't you deliver a little homily on the use of chewing gum as a prelude to dental decay and sin?"
Looks and sounds like it should be a fun read, right? Well I certainly thought so.
The third outing in the Francis Oughterard series, Bone Idle, I am informed is set in 1950's England.
Not exactly what I was expecting, in fact absolutely nothing like I was expecting, I disliked this book from early on. Poorly and lazily written, I was one-step ahead of the author all the way through so there were no surprises in what was billed as a mystery.
Then there was the fact that the story was told by three differently individuals - the 'Vicar's Version', the 'Cat's Memoir's' and the 'Dog's Diary' - which could have been interesting but wasn't. In fact all it really did was make a 366 (large print) book seem even longer than it was as often the story was told three times albeit from a slightly different perspective.
What about the characters then? Surely there was some good characters. In a word, no. Almost without exception the author had decided on strange names (Maude Tubbly Pole, Edith Hopgarden) for most of her creations and so what might have been comical if she had left this to a few became nonsensical, bordering on the absurd. They were also stereotypical, the 'boozy' vicar, the gossiping female parishioners, shall I go on? And as for Maurice (the cat) and Bouncer (the dog) - I feel they could have been a golden opportunity to write something just that little bit different but this, sadly, failed to happen.
Bone Idle was a library book read.