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The Death Chamber

The Death Chamber

Leslie Thomas
ARRSE Rating
0.5 Mushroom Heads
Three chapters in and I think every body who is reading this has heard of the expression "Never Judge a Book by its Cover". This saying has never been more apt than for this book. It's a hard back with glowing reports on the back cover, with a fiendish title to boot and a nice illustration, you'll be excused for thinking that this will grip you from page one, how wrong I was in thinking that!

It's leading character Stella, a police detectives daughter who is her own boss and who owns a cleaning company in West London and just so happens to do private detective work on the side with her side kick who is a fifty year old London under ground train driver, the train driver also does cleaning for our Stella as well as helping her solve murders, he works nights on the trains but still finds time for all this extra work without crashing and killing his passengers! Far fetched? Hmm I would say so, even though it's just a fictional story I do like stories to have just a bit of realism to them.

So let's forget about the story for a moment, chapter two I think it was or was it three, I don't know and frankly I don't care was dedicated to a gathering of Stella's closest over a Sunday dinner of roast lamb, mash and seasonal vegetables, it was the most boring boring uninspiring chapter that had nothing to do with the story except to tell us that lamb roasted with lemon and garlic gives off wonderful aromas and the gravy, was delicious, well I've had lamb with garlic and I don't like it, I prefer Rosemary, far more complimentary, anyhow I digress. By this time I was in a world of despair, it's a bloody big book and I was thinking that I'd rather be painting the shed than face reading this, in fact that's what I did I put the book down went out and looked at the shed, sat down and contemplated how much paint I would need. It was more interesting than the book, watching it dry will probably be a damn more exciting!

Stella is persuaded to take an old case of a double murder separated by twenty years in a sleepy part of The Cotswolds area, the detective who originally investigated the case took copies of everything and made his own files on the case which he still had at home, yeh ok. He was a Ch Inspector who was dismissed with a year to go until he got his pension because he failed to adhere to PACE and didn't caution a suspect. Well for one I think an experienced copper would simply record that he did in fact caution the suspect, after all it's his word against the suspect, not that this ever goes on of course, it's a work of fiction after all. The suspect was found not guilty and now with only a few weeks to live the ex copper wants the suspect put away and so his daughter contacts Stella. I was despairing and shaking my head so much the print appeared to blur before my very eyes.

I persevered and battled on to page 65 and then with a wry smile and a heavy heart as I have not done this before as a reviewer I put the book down. I haven't and couldn't bring myself to read more.

The characters were frankly boring, unbelievable unexciting, and failed to come to life, you know when a good author writes you can picture and have a feeling for certain characters, hoping they get away with it or hoping they get caught or hoping they live or maybe get killed. Not this lot they were just names on a piece of paper that did nothing for my imagination.
What is the point of a fictional story be it in book or film? Well to me it should entertain, it should be interesting, it could be funny, it could be serious, it could be all these things and I'm sure you could think of more points that make up a good read or watch as the case may be. Alas this book failed for me on each of those points.

Can I think of ANYTHING, that may redeem this book. Well maybe it's aimed at a different market to an old retired male copper. Who would it suit?
Well maybe without wanting to be sexist or stereotyped it would appeal to middle aged women with a cat or two for company. I don't know, but what I do know is that this book would make a damn fine door stop, an expensive one however at £18.99.

I do realise this is a very scathing review but it's honest I can't and do not write false reviews, it is an honest appraisal of what I personally think. Others might like it, perhaps you will if you are a fan of Murder she Wrote, that was very successful.

Half a mushroom head, well it got published so as I have said before some one liked it.

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