Thursday, 5 December 2013

Death on the Pont Noir by Adrian Magson

The gleaming black Citroen DS with the curtained rear windows ghosted along the deserted country at a steady 70 kph, its hydropneumatic suspension making light of the undulating, pitted surface.

Another book with an opening set in a car. As I get car sick, these beginnings make me nauseous. How does a car ghost along anyway? Is it hovering? At first I thought that's what hydropneumatic suspension meant, until I googled it.

The next sentence is odd:

Inside the car, its two occupants were as shielded from the cold tarmac underneath as they were from the frost-glazed mud of the fields on either side, warmed by the controlled whisper of heated air wafting gently around them.

What a roundabout way of saying two people in a warm car on a cold day with fields on either side. Or is this an artsy-fartsy way of saying it's cold outside? It just seems obvious that if people are in a car they are protected from the outside in some way. The weather is mentioned, but it is not obtrusive.

A scene quickly unfolds by page 2, but that first page begins the novel just so awkwardly, right down to how unnaturally the characters' names are revealed, that it doesn't deserve a passing grade. But I am kind.

First thing said:

"Belt up tight."

Verdict: Pass (barely)

Theodore Moracht

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