Death and the Alma Mater
- by G. M. Malliet
This book was bought for me as a gift, to fuel my mystery book addiction. I liked the Cambridge references; it being a favourite place of mine. It was full of rowing, river and the usual 'Master', 'Dean' and 'Burser'.
The story did feel a little familiar, with comparisons to the Morse series set in Oxford, and with P.D. James' Adam Dalgliesh as the central detective character, also a strong character and clever type, pining over his love life.
I always like stories which come accompanied with diagrams to allow you to imagine the scene, so this book did not disappoint in that respect. However, I was a little lost imagining a college that had it's boat house so close to the main college. I cannot really imagine where the fictional college of St Michael's could 'fit' into Cambridge.
I found that I guessed 'whodunnit' but was waiting for a twist. I didn't really find the twist in the story was shocking enough, which left me somewhat wanting.
There was a mix of characters in the book, with a femme fatale, aristocratic horsey type, resentful teenager, American dot com millionaire, quiet but successful banker, pious academic, proud master, and scatty Reverend.
The storyline kept pace and there were some nice descriptions of the characters. I have a feeling that as I have been reading a lot of Gladys Mitchell recently I have found more ordered books less complicated a read. Mitchell's works are often cluttered with side stories and items that are deliberately pointed out as if they have great importance but are then not referred to again.
All in all a fun read with some great local connections. :)