Long Time Waiting by Rachel Sargeant

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Long Time Waiting by Rachel Sargeant

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Category: Crime
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Melony Sanders
Reviewed by Melony Sanders
Summary: The story of a young constable on her first CID case, modelling herself on Agatha Christie
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 224 Date: August 2010
Publisher: Robery Hale Ltd
ISBN: 978-0709091066

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Pippa Adams is determined to do well on her first day as a CID detective, especially when she is plunged straight into a murder case. However, an unfortunate comment about Agatha Christie plunges that into disarray and she becomes known as 'Agatha'. There is little time to dwell on this though; there is a murder to solve. Two men broke into the Brocks' home late one night, took Carl Brock away and killed him, and chained his wife, Gaby, to a chair. Carl Brock was a teacher and presumably above reproach - but as Pippa and her colleagues investigate, all sorts of issues come to the surface and it seems that Carl was not as innocent as they first presumed. Can Pippa find out the truth and persuade her disdainful colleagues that she is a capable detective?

Long Time Waiting is Rachel Sargeant's debut novel, although she has previously had some success in writing short stories for magazines. That is perhaps why she has chosen to make her key character a young woman at the beginning of her career. Pippa Adams is a character with whom it is easy to sympathise. She has a number of issues, which aren't fully explained, but is determined to make her way in life as a detective. However, she is quite naive in many ways, and certainly isn't very sure of herself or her capabilities. She does, however, have an ability to make connections with people that enables her to find out information that her more formal colleagues miss.

Pippa is not a fictional character that is going to light any fires. She is a very ordinary character and has potential, if Rachel Sargeant is planning to feature her in any more books. However, she does feel a little forced at times as though Sargeant is trying that bit too hard to make Pippa a convincing character. The other characters in the book are even less convincing. Pippa's colleagues are almost all caricatures of police officers and the criminals and victims are very one-dimensional. There is an attempt to give a couple of them a little more depth and Sargeant manages to achieve it to a certain extent, but it could have been done in a much better way.

The story itself is a reasonable one, but again, it feels forced at times. A great deal of effort obviously went into the planning of the story, but the way it is told and the flow of the writing just doesn't feel very natural. It is quite possible that the author hasn't yet found her feet in novel-writing - the transition from a short story to a full-length novel is quite a step after all. However, as a reader, I would much rather not have to wait until she has reached the point where her writing flows well. Possibly a good editor could have helped bring it all together, but that was clearly not to be.

Nevertheless, it isn't a bad story and is perfectly entertaining for a light read - it would be ideal for a holiday read or for a frivolous read when in need of something comforting. Anyone wanting something to get their teeth into is going to be disappointed though. What really does let the book down though is the end. There are the usual coincidences that Pippa manages to string together into a coherent story, thereby solving the crime, which is fine - most works of crime fiction work along those lines. However, there is one thread of the solution that really is too silly to be true. It's a thread that only takes a paragraph or so to explain, but because of its improbability, it casts a negative shadow over the whole book.

I have been quite negative about this book, but it is far from being all bad - it is just that there are a lot of issues that need some consideration if Rachel Sargeant is to continue to write novels. Once she has found her flow and a way of making the characters seem less one-dimensional, then she has a good chance of becoming a popular author. However, if she continues at the same standard as this book, then she is just going to disappear in a haze of similar authors. Hopefully, her next effort will be stronger. Two and a half stars out of five.

Further reading suggestion: If you enjoy light-hearted crime fiction, then you should enjoy Bones in the Belfry by Suzette A Hill and Blood at the Bookies by Simon Brett.

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Buy Long Time Waiting by Rachel Sargeant at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Long Time Waiting by Rachel Sargeant at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Long Time Waiting by Rachel Sargeant at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Long Time Waiting by Rachel Sargeant at Amazon.com.


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