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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Except the Dying

Author: Maureen Jennings
Originally Published: 1997

Except the DyingMurdoch is my newest fictional crush. I blame the television adaptation solely for that, because it really is one of the greatest TV shows that I’ve been watching lately. (It’s so nice to have good Canadian television that doesn’t make me want to cringe.) I also blame the TV adaptation for giving me yet another book series to become immersed into.

Except the Dying is the first of the Detective Murdoch mysteries by Maureen Jennings. Taking place in the late 1800’s in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Murdoch is an acting detective for the Toronto police force. This case starts off with the murder of a pregnant maid from a wealthy family. Murdoch has run-ins with all types of people in this story, ranging from the pair of prostitutes who stole the girl’s clothes when she was lying dead on the snow-covered street, to the wealthy household the girl worked for. Soon more people are getting murdered – what seems to be those who know something about the first girl.

I can say upfront that I am certainly going to be making my way through the rest of the series. This book had so many great things going for it. First, it takes place in Toronto in the late 1800’s. How fun is that?! Second, Murdoch is positively wonderful! I may love Murdoch in the same sense and way that I love Horatio Hornblower, and that’s saying quite a bit. Thirdly, the rest of the characters are so real and wonderful – especially Crabtree, who is one of my favourites on the show.

Then there is Jennings’ style of writing, which sucked me in right from the beginning. I loved that she started with giving us a bit of the victim’s last night from the victim’s point of view, to actually make use care about the girl and the story. She was also able to surprise me with the ending of the book. Certainly not who I had expected to be the killer!

While there are some differences between the show and the book, I found the show keeps itself fairly true to the book. There were some differences (always are), but it had the same atmosphere, and the characters that I really care about were (for the most part) the same. And Murdoch was just as wonderful in the book as I had expected him to be!

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 6:16 pm August 19, 2008.
Category: Mystery
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