25 June 2012

Review: APRIL FOOL, William Deverell

Synopsis (from publisher's site)

An irresistible story of justice heading off the rails.

Arthur Beauchamp, the scholarly, self-doubting legend of the B.C. criminal bar (and one of Deverell’s most amiable — and crafty — protagonists), is enjoying his retirement as a hobbyist farmer on B.C.’s Garibaldi Island when he is dragged back to court to defend an old client. Nick “the Owl” Faloon, once one of the world’s top jewel thieves, has been accused of raping and murdering a psychologist. Beauchamp has scarcely registered how unlikely it is that the diminutive Faloon has hurt anyone when his own personal life takes an abrupt turn. His new wife, Margaret Blake, organic farmer and environmental activist, has taken up residence fifty feet above ground in a tree she is determined to save for the eagles and from the loggers. Beauchamp shuttles between Vancouver and the island, doing what he can to save the tree and get his wife back — and defend Faloon.

Part courtroom thriller, part classic whodunit, April Fool sees Deverell writing at the top of his form as he puts these characters through some entertaining and very surprising twists and turns.

My Take

I really struggled with APRIL FOOL even though I really wanted to read it to complete my reading for the Canadian Book Challenge 2011-2012 and also because it was a past winner of the Arthur Ellis award. Perhaps it does also show that the reader's familiarity with a setting is important. Nevertheless the book seemed to me to be extraordinarily dense and the plot very complex.

I think part of my problem may have been my lack of familiarity with Canadian geography which left me struggling with the setting changes, and perhaps also that I had not read the earlier Beauchamp book.  An insidious little voice kept nagging at me to stop reading but after the first 80 pages I felt that I had invested sufficient time in reading it to continue. Besides I really wanted to know how Beauchamp solved his various problems.

The story twists and turns a lot and crosses between the murder case that drags Arthur Beauchamp out of retirement and the ecological protest that Arthur's wife is embroiled in, itself a case before the courts.

My rating: 4.2

Arthur Beauchamp (from Fantastic Fiction)
1. Trial of Passion (1997)
2. April Fool (2005)
3. Kill All the Judges (2008)
4. Snow Job (2009)
5. I'll See You in My Dreams (2011)


kathy d. said...

I just read Deverell's latest book I'll See You in My Dreams. I liked it much for various reasons, although it's critical support, i.e., I have a few minor gripes, but overall I liked it and agreed with the underlying political and social issues involving the abuses and denial of rights of the Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Also, the characters are interesting and the wit sublime.

Kerrie said...

I'm glad you liked it kathy. Just not my book at the moment

kathy d. said...

I understand. I have been trying to figure out if I'd purchase April Fool, as the library doesn't have it, always a problem.
Making a purchasing decision requires that I've read really positive reviews, and I'm not sure I'm there yet.

Dalene @ A Date with a Book said...

This is a new author to me. However, I also can struggle with a complex book when maybe I'm not quite in that mode to be thinking quite that heavy. Thanks for sharing your thought!


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