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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
My lasting first impression as a first-time reader of the rather prolific writer Ann Morven, based on her “somewhere-in-the-series” novel, The Killing of Hamlet, one of a collection featuring a common-everyday-woman investigator named Sheil B. Wright (because she usually is), is Wow, what perfectly timed punches Ms. Morven delivers! She begins her stylish English mystery abruptly with a most sudden, instantly effective, very public murder (of Hamlet, no less), and thus a quirky and engaging plot hits the ground running. This is somewhat ironic, as Sheil B. Wright turns out to be a bit of an Australian plodder, herself. On the other hand, Ann Morven’s writing pace is fast, exciting, and … well … punchy! This makes for exhilarating entertainment oddly proffered with decorum. The precision wit is titillating; the voice is quite polite. A mystery fan rubs his hands together with delight.
If The Killing of Hamlet is indicative of Ann Morven’s typical creative production, she deserves a place of honor in the Mystery Writers Hall of Fame. Not because her plotting is overly complex, nor are her protagonist’s deductive skills equal to the world’s greats, but because her writing is so spot-on, perfectly concise, and the way she tells a story is simply so much fun. A sharply observant brain and super-clever wit are at work behind the deceptive directness of her writing. Mark my words, if you read too quickly, which is a hazardous temptation, you may likely stumble over several tiny, easily discarded humor-pebbles. And, as anyone who loves a really good mystery will quickly caution: Do not overlook anything (or anyone). Not those accumulating bodies, and most certainly not Sheil B. Wright. An absolute gem of a book; well written, entertaining, and impeccably edited.