Book Beginnings

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.

It begins:

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!

Book Beginnings ButtonSee more Book Beginnings on Friday at Gilion’s blog Rose City Reader.


16 thoughts on “Book Beginnings

  1. Hi Margaret,

    I haven’t come across Michael Cox before, however, after your post and Darlene’s added comments about the second book, I had to check him out.
    Michael only ever wrote the two novels, but they both sound fantastic, very alluring, yet deadly… right up my street.
    I am not sure exactly when I would ever get around to reading such a couple of ‘chunkster’ books, but the are both on my reading list anyway.
    Thanks for sharing such a great book and have an enjoyable weekend,


  2. I read both of his books some time ago and really liked them. Sadly the author has passed away and so these books you are reading are his last… but they are really good. Sorry your copy has such small print. I have difficulty with small print so my copy must not have been like that. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did


  3. That is quite a shocking opener!

    Like you, books sit on my TBR shelf for a long time before the percolate up to the top of my consciousness. I am also surprised by LibraryThing’s record of when I got a book.

    Thanks for linking your post on Book Beginnings!


  4. You’ve introduced me to a number of new to me authors, so I’m kinda glad they’ve been on your shelf, and 600 pages, holy hanna.


  5. It is daunting to begin a book with 600 pages but the beginning is so intriguing, I’m guessing it will be more than worth the time to read it. Will look forward to your review.


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