Death in Autumn

By Magdalen Nabb

This is the fourth Marshall Guarnaccia book, an early Magdalen Nabb, therefore. Death in Autumn is a quite perfectly formed, nicely rounded, well told and concise in plan.

  • Author: Magdalen Nabb
  • Title: Death in Autumn
  • Pages: 158
  • Published: 1986(1985)
  • Publisher: Fontana
  • ISBN: 0-00-617172

In her more recent books, Magdalen Nabb spreads her wings stylistically a bit more than in these earlier books. She is quite fond of what I can only consider a bit of an author’s trick; when her viewpoint character becomes confused, she lets the text itself become confusing &mdash incoherent, sometimes even broken.

In The Monster of Florence this style was especially pronounced. I am not saying that it is a bad thing, necessarily, but it makes life hard for the reader. Sometimes I feel up to that, and want to experience the effect, but mostly, when I grab a mystery novel, I want a story and pleasant, believable characters and perhaps a bit of excitement — but not too much.

Death in Autumn conforms to those requirements to a nicety, and I was very glad I had it at hand when I was feeling a bit miserable recently. The murder has been done already, and while one of the suspects has a hard time (and turns out to be innocent anyway), the book never gets too exciting. The criminal is a master-mind, the victim a rather unpleasant woman and there are interesting ramifications. A bit of a pity that Magdalen Nabb feelst the need to beat the drugs drum again; that’s getting a bit boring.