Fifteen members attended the Whodunit bookclub this clear but chilly January evening. A fitting number seeing as that this month marks the 15th anniversary of the club!
Sleepyhead" by Mark Billingham. "Sleephead" was first published in 2002 and is the first novel in his Detective Tom Thorne series which now numbers eleven titles!
As is our usual custom we went around the group giving the novel marks out of ten possible points. There were sixteen voters as one member voted in absentia. The mark was 7.6 with twelve members stating that they wanted to read more titles in the series.
Some members felt that the character of Tom Thorne needed to be more focused. He seemed to drift through his days and the investigation. It was said that there was too much introspection and not enough detection. Others really liked his character - flaws and all. Some believed that since this is the first book in the series, Tom Thorn's character will improve over time.
Alison was a favoured character. We really enjoyed her sense of humor and her reflections. While she was in an almost unimaginably horrible condition - her strong personality shone through.
It was mentioned that her humor is probably linked to the fact that the author, Mark Billingham is also a stand-up comedian. On his website he states that women crime writers describe what a victim 'feels like' while men crime writers tend to describe what the crime scene 'looks like'. It was said that he really empathized with the victim in 'Sleepyhead' probably because he was once the victim of a violent crime himself.
The chapter in which the policeman Tughan featured prominently proved that he was a particularly sleazy character. Some were suspicious of him because of this.
The descriptions in the novel were very vivid and the reader could almost imagine the action and setting as if they were watching a movie.
Thorne's unwavering belief that Jeremy Bishop was the killer despite the evidence to the contrary led some to believe that he would end up being the perpetrator. A few of our group deduced the correct killer far ahead of time. I'm afraid I cannot count myself as one of them!
The fact that Tom inherited Margaret's cat 'Elvis' was appreciated by the many animal lovers in our group.
The majority of members felt that the ending of the novel was very satisfying and a fitting conclusion to the story.
The first few Thorne novels were adapted for television in the UK in a six-part mini-series. The part of Thorne was played by actor David Morrissey.
The winners of this month's book giveaways were: