Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Hazel Holt – “A Time to Die”

Publ: 2008 ISBN: 978074079062
Rating: *

It seems to me that if your heroine is female, older than twenty five and detects crime she becomes – on the blurb of the book, at least – another Miss Marple. Implicit, and sometimes explicit, is the suggestion that the writing is as good as Miss Christie. One suspects that the blurb-writers have never actually read an Agatha Christie in their lives.
The latest one I have come across is Shiela Mallory – the heroine of a number of novels by Hazel Holt. Perhaps I just picked a bad example in “A Time to Die”, but the writing was poor, the action non –existent (at least until page 60 which is where I gave up). “A galloping quest for the truth” – another quite from the blurb – it was not. More like a sedate trot towards what was presumably to be an early death somewhere along the line. Instead the book suffered an early death.

HAZEL HOLT was born in 1928 in Birmingham. She studied at Newnham College, Cambridge, and went on to work at the International African Institute in London, where she became acquainted with the novelist Barbara Pym, whose biography she later wrote. Holt wrote her first novel in her sixties, and is a leading crime novelist. She is best known for her "Sheila Malory" series. Her son is the novelist Tom Holt.

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