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Ride a Pale Horse
Helen MacInnes
The Samurai's Wife
Laura Joh Rowland
Except the Dying - Maureen Jennings 3.5 stars.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book by [a:Maureen Jennings|212730|Maureen Jennings|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1284750506p2/212730.jpg]. The world that she created in Victorian Toronto was just wonderful, and her characters, particularly her lower class ones, were so colorful and well written. The world and the people inhabiting it were gritty and rough around the edges. Even the people in the upper class were less than classy. I really enjoy the Murdoch Mysteries TV series, but honestly, it doesn't hold a candle to this book. The characters in the book are gritter and less refined than the characters in the TV show, and while I like those characters, too, the characters as written by Marueen Jennings in her books seem more realistic for the time period than the characters in the show do.

I never had this mystery figured out, I never had a culprit that I favored, and I was guessing clear up until the end. That's great, but for me, it's also the book's weak point. You see, Jennings didn't play quite fair. The reader wasn't given information that would have given him or her the chance to figure out who the culprit was. In the interest of keeping the mystery truly mysterious, Jennings kept vital information from Murdoch, and thus, from her readers. While that should drop this book another star for me, I just liked the world and the characters too much to eliminate an entire star.