LETTERS FROM CARTHAGE by Bill James
Kirkus Star

LETTERS FROM CARTHAGE

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A dark salute to the dying art of letter-writing.

Jill and Dennis Seagrave live in the tree-lined enclave of suburbia’s Tabbett Drive, where she’s charming but slightly distant toward the neighbors and he’s turned their privet into a topiary wonderland of peacocks, bison and cormorants. Sadly, all is not as balmy at it seems. In letters to her mum and a school chum, Jill mentions couple-swapping weekends in her home and hints at troubling secrets in Dennis’s past. In letters to his brother Tim, his ex-girlfriend Anna and his current sleaze, Marie, Dennis admits to hiring detectives to tail Jill and learning of her lugubrious infidelities with a bum named Peregrine and a Volvo-owner named Greg. To keep Dennis from reading her correspondence, Jill befriends Mrs. A.V. Ward, OBE, and asks to receive her mail there. Alas, the OBE—or the cow-bitch, as Jill comes to call her—takes up with Dennis. Jill’s letters grow more fearful, Dennis’s more menacing. Surely murder is in the offing. But James has a twist in store, then another, and yet another before the last missive is posted.

A gleeful send-up, by turns sinister and amusing (never has the weather been addressed with such aplomb). James, who likes to supplement his Harpur and Iles series (Wolves of Memory, 2006, etc.) with stand-alones (Between Lives, 2004, etc.), is probably the most undervalued Brit writing crime fiction today.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-7278-6460-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Severn House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2007




MORE BY BILL JAMES

MysteryDISCLOSURES by Bill James
by Bill James
MysterySNATCHED by Bill James
by Bill James
MysteryNOOSE by Bill James
by Bill James
MysteryPLAY DEAD by Bill James
by Bill James