2014: 31. The Minotaur


"One of the women buying amber was so much like Mrs. Cosway that it gave me a shock to see her."

The Minotaur, Barbara Vine

A classic Vine-y Vine, by which I mean, it's a mystery set in the past, that's more about whydunnit than who dunnit.  And since I love books like that, this was right up my alley.  I've actually read this before - I took it from the library when in the days when the blog when black - but despite that, I quite enjoyed it, and with my lazy brain, remembered only the gist of it, so the ending was new to me (I know, it's lame, but think how more enjoyment I get out of re-reading mysteries than you do).*

Anyways, our story is set in the early 1960's in Cosway House, where a young Swedish girl, Kerstin, has been hired as a nurse - her first job out of college.  She's supposed to be watching over a middle aged man, John, who is allegedly a schizoprenic, who is living at home with his elderly mother and three sisters.  He has inherited all the money, and his trust keeps them all going along.  They are a very strange family, and soon Kerstin begins to wonder whether John, is quite as sick as she was told - or whether something more sinister is going on.

What makes the novel is the crazy Cosway family.  They are simultaneously awful and totally believable, and Kerstin - with her young and foreign outlook - is a terrific narrator for these bunch of nuts - especially with the demonstration of how she starts off as any of us would - questioning their bonkers behavior, but overtime gets acclimated, or cowed, or deadened by them, and just goes along.   If you like mysteries set among crazy English in crazy old houses (and lord, I love books like that), you'll like this.

Categories:  Ruth Rendell Project  

*And, now that I see that this was published in 2005, I note that there is a distinct possibility that I've blogged about this after all - and that I just haven't copied that post over.  If so, I'll update and we can compare my reactions!

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017