5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Voice
Those mystery readers searching for the truly fresh directions our genre will be taking in the future need to search out material being published by the numerous small presses scattered across America today. Mari Ulmer's MIDNIGHT AT THE CAMPOSANTO is a perfect example of the unique voices now appearing in the mystery field. Ms. Ulmer has written a terrific book. It...
Published on Nov. 26 2001 by Kent Braithwaite
2.0 out of 5 stars Hodge Podge or Collage?
Since I was ready for a trip back to Taos, I really wanted to like this book. The reviews all look optimistic. Could I have possibly have read a different book? Sorry, but this reviewer is going to break the string. I was hopeful to find some marriage of the richness and charm of Willa Cather's Death Comes to the Archbishop and Song of the Lark; Mabel Luhan Dodge's...
Published on Nov. 6 2001 by Mamalinde
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1.0 out of 5 stars A horridly disappointing book!,
By A Customer
I love New Mexico; love Taos. I own a home there. (have elderly relatives there.) I could appreciate lyrical descriptions of the setting in the event of weak characters and a story-line that bores tediously without being interesting. Mari Ulmer does not even give those! Ulmer's efforts at garnering review raves about her descriptive skills FAR out weigh those skills. She strings together a few mundane observations, using an array of trite phrases and wants the reader to believe that's the way it is? --- disappointing!
Mari Ulmer's protagonist is a one-dimensional, vapid creature lacking in deep thought, logic, or the demeanor of a lawyer. ("retired" is no excuse for foolish.) MOF-- all characterizations are so lacking that it appears Ulmer has never studied one page of character development. The protagonist, Christy Garcia y Grant wanders thorugh her days noting incidentals about her own home and her life as if facing a virtual reality "Oh! This Is My Life?" camera while she sadly notes how the calloused Anglos kept her from learning Spanish as a child. --Hmmm. My 4-year-old granddaughter speaks three languages fluently! Yet, this character is --oddly-- able to recall small details from childhood about her grandmother, her family history, and peculiar religious customs.
The plot waddles through various levels of religious mysticism while brushing government secrets, Los Alamos, AIDS, and illogical violence. It lacks cohesive order or satisfying reconciliation. How misleading most of the reviews are! To compare Mari Ulmer to Tony Hillerman is a travesty! All I can surmise is that the author has friends in the right places to even get published. (I'd like a refund.)
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Voice,
This review is from: Midnight at the Camposanto (Paperback)Those mystery readers searching for the truly fresh directions our genre will be taking in the future need to search out material being published by the numerous small presses scattered across America today. Mari Ulmer's MIDNIGHT AT THE CAMPOSANTO is a perfect example of the unique voices now appearing in the mystery field. Ms. Ulmer has written a terrific book. It spins a tale as good as any being published by the big houses today, yet it also features elements that would never appear in the books of America's major publishing houses. Her protagonist, Christina Garcia y Grant is an admirable creation, as are Christy's supporting characters. Ms. Ulmer's story reveals a deep and thorough understanding of the mixture of cultures that has occurred in northern New Mexico. Her plot moves swiftly, twisting and turning as her story progresses. Her dialog snaps to life from the printed page. Her characters are fully realized, yet it is her setting and that setting's cultural depth that made MIDNIGHT AT THE CAMPOSANTO such a fulfilling read for me. Ms. Ulmer knows what she is writing about, and she writes as well as anyone working today.
2.0 out of 5 stars Hodge Podge or Collage?,
Here is a partial list of irritations (with apologies for the length of this review, my usual style is "short and sweet").
While the story bypasses the fascinating Taos pueblo, it focuses on ancient religion morphing into something (possibly sanctioned by the church?), witchcraft, devilry, government secrets, AIDS, the genome project, as well as the lab at Los Alamos. That none of this comes together neatly is no surprise. The buckets of blood seemed to come out of nowhere, and certainly didn't seem to be either interesting or worthy of mention as a "floor finish".
The unlawyerly demeanor of protagonist Christy Garcia y Grant, La Dona and Iggy. The lawyers I've worked with (for entirely too long) would NEVER behave in such an unprofessional and quite frankly silly manner, chasing about with a lack of thought, a lack of logic, lack of regard for their personal safety as well as others, and a total disregard for ethics.
Christy Garcia y Grant comes from a family of Spanish speaking locals, and studies law. But never bothers to learn her native tongue (or correct English, actually). Although she immerses herself with ancient religious customs.
The elderly La Dona shooting "across the prow" at the driver of the car she is riding in? And then RUNNING from the accident and going home? Yeah, right.
Missed opportunities of setting. Taos is a enchanting place. The magic of the high country desert, the mesas and the mountains, the clear air and rich landscape and are only given a cursory glance as this crazy bunch dashes about willy-nilly.
The protagonist is simply irritating, with her numerous exclamations, her bossy and unsympathetic approach to others - she is either disoriented or delusional much of the time. The guests in her bed and breakfast receive little in the way of charm or hospitality, the "amusing tidbits" and "story time" seem nothing less than insulting.
Finally, did anyone else notice that the issue causing all the murder and mayhem was simply lost in the final wrap up? Or, perhaps I simply missed something in my race to finish this bizarre book.
4.0 out of 5 stars A hauntingly atmospheric mystery,
5.0 out of 5 stars A Medianoche en el Camposanto,
4.0 out of 5 stars midnight at the camposanto,
5.0 out of 5 stars Mari comments on Midnight at the Camposanto,
5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight At The Camposanto,
Ulmer not only instructs and clarifies the mysteries of the Catholic Church's relationship with the Brotherhood of Los Hermanos, but writes a superbly well constructed mystery including death, danger, and totally developed characters.
The book begins with a murder at midnight in the graveyard (camposanto) during the celebration of the Easter season...[there is] a woman who has left the legal profession to return to her home, open a bed and breakfast, and take up writing full time. (Yes, this really can happen.) The heroine and her band of locals undergo not only physical risks, but psychological and social risks as well...the Santa Fe and Los Alamos areas also get in on the act.
This is the first of a series of books the author intends to write, all constructed around religious holidays. Already, I can't wait for the next one! END
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting beautiful mystery,
On Good Friday, the police arrest a Hermano for killing another Hermano, his cousin. Christy knows the cousin could never commit such an evil act especially on a holy day. Christy, her former mentor, a public defender, and a retired physician try to prove that Pat Salazaar is innocent of the murder of Eusebio. Their investigation follows many threads with someone trying to kill Christy before she and her cohorts uncover the pattern.
Though the Land of Enchantment has had many tourists, few if any have seen this side of New Mexico that is eloquently and reverently described by Mari Ulmer. The well-crafted mystery includes many viable suspects from all walks of life and leaves readers wondering who did it. The lead character and her partners are fully developed, gaining audience support from the beginning of the story line. MIDNIGHT AT THE CAMPOSANTO is the first novel in the "Taos Festival Mysteries" and if the subsequent tales are half as colorful, mystical, and alive as this debut is, fans will have a treat for years to come.
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Midnight at the Camposanto by Mari Privette Ulmer (Paperback - April 3 2001)
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