Picked a Bernard Cornwell mystery off the curbside, possibly thinking he was some other author. But the blurb sounded good- 'The Countess of Avebury, once an opera dancer, was killed while having her portrait painted. The artist was convicted of her murder and is due to hang. But influences in high places brought Rider Sandman on the scene as an investigator for the government.' So far so good, and hot weather is mystery reading weather. The opening scenes, of a public hanging, are harrowing, even if the unsympathetic characters are all presented as grotesques. And then Sandman appears, walking back to London because he's pissed off at a thrown cricket match.
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He walked because he refused to share a carriage with men who had accepted bribes to lose a match. He loved cricket, he was good at it, he had once, famously, scored a hundred and fourteen runs for an England eleven playing against the Marquis of Canfield's picked men and lovers of the game would travel many miles to see Captain Rider Sandman, late of His Majesty's 52nd Regiment of Foot, perform at the batting crease... He could not afford the stagecoach fare, nor even a common carrier's fare, because in his anger he had thrown his match fee back into Sir John Hart's face and that, Sandman conceded, had been a stupid thing to do for he had earned that money honestly, yet even so it had felt dirty.Does no one hire editors any more? Are the colon and semicolon dead? I'm a subvocalizer, and I truly can't be having with writing like this. Back on the boulevard it goes.
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