but only to have it be over.
Every once in a while -- three years or so --I decide I really should read a mystery novel or two to give myself another chance at appreciating the genre. One of this year's choices was There Was a Little Girl. I hate to beat up on the dead, but this book is deviously plotted, overly descriptive, with one completely pointless character, Matthew Hope's 14 year old daughter, and every other character firmly occupying a genre role -- ex-wife, best buddy, current lover, macho performer, etc, etc.
For me, a mystery should, with inconspicuously planted clues, involve the reader in its solution. That may be an unjust expectation, but here the reader trails around Hope's friends as they go from suspect to suspect, tracking the current crime and -- it develops -- an earlier crime. There are plenty of false leads, but no cleverly dropped information that would enable the perceptive reader to solve the crime. Instead, about thirty pages before the end we get told the Eureka! moment and all the rest is coda.