The Woman in Black by E. C. Bentley – Book Review


I simply love to read; although, reading classics was a dreadful task for me. I have decided, however, that to flourish as a writer, I needed to study the history of my craft just as well as its current achievements. And I’m taking you with me, by sharing with you reviews of the books I read – modern and classic. My first review will be of the 1913’s Woman in Black. Hope you enjoy this new section of my blog, as I will be positing review often šŸ™‚

ImageE. C. Bentley’s The Woman in Black is a mystery novel about the sudden murder of Mr. Manderson – an extremely wealthy, yet detested, business man and the husband of Mabel Manderson (the woman in black).

The novel, set in London, kicked off by the process of the investigation, executed by Detective Trent. Even though the book is considerably short (157 pages long), the story seems staled, especially during the first few chapters. It does get compelling, however, when suspects emerge, then turn out to be innocent, then other suspects emerge, and so on… To me, the final three chapters were the most anticipatory. The story ends with a major twist, which is both unexpected and ironic.

Even though the story falls clearly into the category of a mystery novel, Bentley doesn’t shy away from employing his humorous side, at times. In the final chapter, as Trent was heading to a restaurant called Sheppard’s, he explains the reasons of choosing that particular place by saying: “All I know is that you can get a bit of saddle of mutton at Sheppard’s that has made many an American visitor curse the day Christopher Columbus was born…” Am I the only one who finds this funny?

The message at the end of the book is, clearly, about the odious effect of haste death sentences. During a time when science and technology weren’t so advanced, many innocent men were convicted of crimes they didn’t commit – due to misleading evidence. The story aims to denounce rash judicial verdicts.

I give The Woman in Black ** 2 Star.

* One, for its incorporation of humor as well as it’s noble message* And two, for its unpredictable twist at the end.

Next book review: H. G. Wells – The Door in the Wall.

Have a nice weekend and happy reading, everybody!

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