Crime fiction is my favorite genre. To follow the trail of clues and bodies with the detective is fun, and if the book has pace in it to hold the attention from start to finish, then it is really satisfying. It was the title that grabbed my attention. I hadn’t read the author before, and the “link” between the victims as on Goodreads made me choose “The Murder Bag” by Tony Parsons to read.
Three aspects of the novel are, to me, important in a crime fiction.
Detective: Max Wolfe, the detective, is a character I liked. Impulsive, confident and going purely on instinct, he doesn’t give a damn about chain of command or seniority. At some points in the investigation, these qualities do seem necessary. Even if these are considered to be the bad points to his character, there are admirable qualities to even them out, like being the best father to a darling daughter. Hard-headed and hard-hearted in work and loving when a soft touch is needed, I felt Parsons has given this character a good sketching.
Victims and motive: Initially the victims feel unconnected. But then, it is found that they are related by the posh, private high school they went to. The link opens up possibilities of who the killer might be, and helps the read to progress. The motive is the oldest motive in the book: revenge. And it works. It takes a while for the characters to develop and for this motive to become a possibility, but once it develops, the book is a treat to read.
Pace: The prologue and initial chapters start the novel off with decent pace, but it doesn’t hold through the read. It dips at times and then peaks again. It might not be something that would appeal to every reader, but the peak points, especially the confrontation between Wolfe and the killer, are well written, and exciting to read.
In general: Easy narration and a plot worth reading makes any book a success. This book is no different. I would have loved to see some better character sketching for the secondary characters, but other than that, I liked reading this novel. And I would read it again soon.
Title: The Murder Bag
Series: Max Wolfe #1
Author: Tony Parsons
Genre: Crime Fiction
Price: Rs. 599
(24th October 2014)