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» » The Accomplice
The Accomplice


Elizabeth Ironside


The Accomplice


Literature & Fiction

PDF ebook size:

1242 kb

ePub ebook size:

1800 kb

Fb2 ebook size:

1393 kb

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Hodder & Stoughton; 1st Paperback Printing edition (November 30, 1996)




Genre Fiction



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The Accomplice by Elizabeth Ironside

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This book is quite different from "A Very Private Enterprise" and it is a measure of the author's depth that she wrote two such wonderful, very different books. The mystery here is less about the buried body and more about who the characters really are, and about the nature of responsibility/ being an accomplice and about how we judge people. Highly recommended.
This book is a complex English mystery that ends surprisingly. I enjoyed it immensely, as did a fellow traveler to Alaska who sat in the deck chair next to me.
Such a good book, one that you hate to see end. It's not your run of the mill kind of murder mysteries and so well written you feel like you know the characters so well.
... I actually prefer this one to DEATH IN THE GARDEN. DITG got unwieldy and tiresome; this one, OTOH, I could not put down. True, I tend to skim a bit in Ironside's works, which I normally would not do. (Her descriptions can get loooong); but I found Zita absorbing, even her "European" (as another reviewer wrote) love for shoes. I also found Xenia totally repugnant, yet still had to read about her doings and motivations. Actually, the most repellent character to me would end up being a tie between Stevens and Valentina! (Gack! "Suede" skin on his bald head? I am revolted yet fascinated by that. His obsessions are dangerous, and he is just boorish.)(Valentina is so self-concerned it is almost incredible, and yet, don't we all know people like that?)
In this book a Latvian refugee from WWII nears the end of her life. She is the descendant of an aristocratic family, and has led two lives. The first life ends as the war ends and she meets her husband to be. He is a British doctor attending to the refugees in Berlin. Her next life is spent in comfort and security in a Sussex village. In 1990, after the Iron Curtain has fallen, she sends a package of clothing off to Moscow and events are initiated which cause her to revisit her early life, one that she kept secret. As the tale unfolds she begins to see herself in a young Russian girl who has come to spend the summer. This book is a mystery, and a novel. There are three significant murders, but this book feels more like a novel. The story is packed with historical detail and alternates between the past and present. I loved Elizabeth Ironside's "Death in the Garden" and this book did not disappoint.
I confess that I picked up this title from a book sale because I liked the artwork on the cover, but my hunch was good. I loved the combination of a mystery with the historical background of the character of Jean (Yevgenia)and how it was gradually revealed. My son-in-law's grandparents were Latvian refugees fleeing the Russians after WWII, which made it even more interesting to me. I liked the development of the Russian student, Xenia, and her thought processes as she learned about life in the west. This wasn't a lightweight mystery. I think the author did a great job with all the characters, and I want to read more by her.
In Broad Woodham, England under the roses of Asshe House, as elderly Jean Loftus after four plus decades living there moves out so her stepson and his family can move in, the bony remains of a child are found by workers. Detective Superintendent Stevens assumes the bones belong to a young boy who vanished without a trace three decades ago. Jean wonders if the connection goes further east to her homeland Soviet Russia where she was born Yevgenia Konstantinovna Chornorouskya, but decides to do nothing except move on.

However, a Russian teenager Xenia has brought back other unpleasant memories of her fatherland that Yevgenia would prefer to forget. Her best friend, attorney Zita Daunsey tries to help Jean cope though not understanding of what, but also decides to investigate what happened to the dead child as well as her pal's mysterious past; that is she makes inquiries in between attending tea parties and caring for her disabled son Tom with the help of "nurse" Lynne.

This is as much a garden tea party as a mystery. THE ACCOMPLICE is an odd somewhat fascinating English cozy that draws readers into the storyline. The more appealing character is Zita, whose life is tediously filled with responsibility as all revolves around Tom so a wee mystery adds spice though she seems to know more than she lets on. Readers will skip the tea segues, but want to learn more about just who Jean is, why she hid her identity four decades ago and how does the deceased child tie back to her in this English modern manners mystery.

Harriet Klausner
If you enjoyed Death in the Garden, do not read this book, as you will be sorely disappointed. Whereas Ironside's first novel was well crafted, her characters interesting and her story gripping, this reads like a very rough draft of a fairly poorly thought through plot.
Again, Ironside develops a contemporary protagonist and story, intertwined with a second character's reminiscence of the past, but here the modern story is told in such a lazy fashion that you neither believe in the characters (or care for any of them) or the plot, which has such obvious twists as to be laughable. The older storyline, told through an old woman's reminiscences, is also heavily signposted, but quite engaging at times, but it cannot carry its bloated contemporary counterpart.
The most disappointing thing is that Ironside does not develop the protagonist, rather she relies on clunky, convenient cliches -- the character repeatedly talks about her expensive shoes and clothes and the food she is cooking-- wow, she must be European!

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