January 23rd, 2006

turtle

Smith, Reisden/Halley books

This weekend, I finished rereading Sarah Smith's trilogy of mysteries, The Vanished Child, The Knowledge of Water, and A Citizen of the Country. I believe she is working on a fourth book in this series now.

I love these for many reasons. First, I love the characters. Second, I love the historical detail, from Reisden's lab work on frog muscle to the Paris Flood of 1910 to the filming of early silent movies. Third, the prose is involving. Fourth, the mysteries don't fall out exactly as you expect (or as I expected). Fifth, these aren't just mysteries, they are novels, in the best sense of the word--I find a thematic richness in them that many books just don't possess. This time around, freed from wondering how the story would come out, I picked up more of that richness and appreciated it more; also, since I accidentally reread the third book before the second, I saw how large elements and important characters of the third book made small appearances in the second, which I might not have noticed had I read them again in the correct order.

If you haven't read at least the first book yet (and these should be read in order, because of the ending of The Vanished Child), do yourself a favor and stop here. Collapse )