Top positive review
Best book I've read in 2017
August 8, 2017
If you are a lover of murder and crime stories there is nothing preventing you from enjoying this masterful Man Booker Prize finalist by Graeme MacCrae Burnet. This book is pure fiction but is written much like a true crime story. The author carefully connects documents which we are to believe he found in some dusty archive of legal documents, newspaper stories and police reports as well as his protagonist's written statement which is nearly a complete book in itself. You read about the accused, Roderick Macrae, a seventeen year old tenant farmer, his family and the events that led up to the crime itself. I loved that I have a Kindle which allows me to immediately look up a word which is foreign to me and get the answer either through a dictionary or wikipedia instantly. There are many words from the Old Scottish which are sprinkled throughout this book and they become second nature to you once you know the meaning. It reminded me of reading Shakespeare in two ways. First, I think that Shakespeare may have actually used the method of discovering archival information so that he was able to write those plots that take place in far away places and distant times. And second, once you read and understand, one play, the others are much easier to fathom. I am not comparing the writing of Burnet to Shakespeare but I do see where a line could exist in research.
Once the confessed murderer is arrested and jailed his lawyer does what every lawyer does today, he gives Roddy the best legal defense he can offer. The trial is also presented as coming from newspapers of the day and a report of the trail supposedly published in 1869. The narration of the trial is as good as any modern legal thriller with expert witnesses, biased and unbiased witnesses and some who seem to just insert themselves into the drama. Think of any trial you may have heard about on Court T.V.
The ending does come with a verdict which I will not report here but with which you may or may not agree. No matter what you believe you will be still thinking about this book for days after you have read the last page.
I am in total agreement that this book deserved to be a finalist on the Man Booker Literary Prize list. Best book I've read in 2017 so far.