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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Nimrod's Shadow by Chris Paling

When I picked this up last week I was hoping for little more than a fairly standard cosy historical murder mystery to divert my attention and entertain me on a few lazy days off work. I was therefore delighted as the plot unfolded and I came to realise it's quite a unique little gem. I can't really remember how this came to be on my bookshelf, having never heard of Chris Paling before, but I will certainly be seeking out more of his work (not good news for my battle against the bookshelf. Bookshelf 1, Girl 0).


 


Nimrod's Shadow tells the stories of two characters living a century apart. Reilly, an impoverished painter in 1912, lives a simple but contented existance with his dog Nimrod until one day he is accused of a murder he didn't commit. Fast forward a few decades and Samantha, a secretary living in present day London, becomes enchanted by one of his paintings and takes it upon herself to investigate further into his life. 

I enjoyed this much more than I was expecting to. Both strands of the tale are equally involving and intertwine nicely together (in many books of this nature the links between past and present plotlines can feel tenuous at best). On multiple occasions the twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat and thinking 'Well I certainly wasn't expecting THAT to happen'. I don't mean this in a shocking, thriller-type way, but in a gentle, pleasingly unpredictable manner. The characters are all completely engaging and quirky. I found Samantha especially endearing despite her odd, brusque, stand-offish nature. 

I feel this book is one that most people would have some fun reading - it's certainly one of the best I've reached for lately.

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