Sarah Rayne

TalkBritish & Irish Crime Fiction

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Sarah Rayne

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1Anastasia169
Mar 25, 2010, 3:48am

I discovered a new (to me) British mystery author named Sarah Rayne and wondered if anyone else was reading her. She is formulaic, but her formula is so complex that reading a few of them is no chore whatsoever and I had to read a few before I realized she had a standard formula.

The formula is a blend of standard mystery fare and gothic elements. Every book has some sort of haunted building around which a crime in the past and a crime in the present is centered. The protagonist is a woman who is vulnerable because of some past hurt who is involved in both crimes, though she is usually unaware of her involvement in at least one of the mysteries, and the mysterious character who links the past to the present. The mystery character is always in full view, but not revealed until the end. And of course there is the love interest who is flawed himself, but makes things right in the end. The narrative is multi-stranded and switches eras and points of view to unfold the mystery.

They really are a lot of fun and the historical aspects always encompass one of England's interesting periods. I would love to know if anyone else has read her and put the recommendation out for anyone who might like to. She is not at a level of P.D. James, but more like Minette Walters or Barbara Vine in terms of readability and depth. Though, as I say, she doesn't vary her formula, which is a shame as I think she has the talent to do so.

2devenish
Apr 17, 2010, 11:03am

I have just completed 'Ghost Song',which is the one about the empty Theatre.
Both my wife and I thought it was really good.Perhaps the building itself came over as rather a stronger character than the humans. For more details of my opinion,see my review of the book.
It is in fact the only one of Rayne's that I have read so far,but certainly not the last.

3Anastasia169
May 24, 2010, 2:52am

Ghost Song is on my TBR pile. I have read all of the other books by Sarah Rayne and recommend Roots of Evil, though they are all good.

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