My new year has got off to a great start with a starred review of The Serpent Pool in 'Library Journal' in the US. After an outline of the plot, the verdict is as follows:
‘The juxtaposition of human relationships past and present, the interweaving of the writings and life of Thomas de Quincey with the contemporary plot, and the backdrop of England's Lake District, famous for its literary connections, make this an excellent choice for discerning readers who want an unusual and challenging puzzle mystery that will keep them guessing until the final pages. Wow!’
Of course, it’s important to retain a sense of proportion about reviews, because they are inevitably subjective – and also because one doesn’t want to become too upset if some reviews are negative! However, 'Library Jounal' is an important publication, perhaps especially for mid-list writers like me, and this kind of approval is really heartening, especially as there have now been four advance reviews of the book, and each of them so far has been very positive.
I’m also grateful to Peter Lovesey, no less, for drawing my attention to a super review of Dancing for the Hangman in the latest issue of Mystery Scene magazine. He was even kind enough to send me a copy.
All this does help greatly, of course, in motivating me to make progress with the next Lake District Mystery. After a long lay-off, I have done quite a bit of fiction writing over the Christmas break, and certainly feel the better for it.