Some books sit unread on my bookshelves for quite a long time before I read them. Then when I do pick them up I wonder why on earth I’ve left them so long – they look so good.
The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox is one of these many unread books of mine. I am shocked to see from my LibraryThing catalogue that I’ve had this book since August 2007, not long after I started writing this blog – no doubt I’d read about it on another book blog.
After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper.
It had been surprisingly – almost laughably – easy.
The first chapter is called Exordium and a footnote explains that this means ‘an introduction to a treatise or discourse’. A second footnote tells me that ‘Quinn’s’ is a shell fishmonger and supper house at 40, Haymarket. So, not only is this a dramatic opening the first few lines tell me this is an historical murder mystery set in London, most likely to be in the Victorian period, all of which makes me want to read on.
Reading the back cover it seems that this book is following on in the tradition of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, described as a ‘tale of obsession, love and revenge, played out amid London’s swirling smog’, an ‘extraordinary story of Edward Glyver, book lover, scholar and murderer.’
I think one of the reasons I haven’t read it before now is that not only is it nearly 600 pages long, my copy is printed in a small font!
See more Book Beginnings on Friday at Gilion’s blog Rose City Reader.