Friday, October 9, 2015
Review of The Girl in Berlin by Elizabeth Wilson (2012, Serpent's Tail)
On one level The Girl in Berlin works quite well. It is quite nicely written with some nice attention to detail concerning London and Berlin in 1951, including fashion, politics, and sense of place. Many of scenes are well framed and engaging. On another level, however, the book seems quite disjointed and the plotting somewhat ponderous. While Detective McGovern plays the central character, rather than follow him exclusively, Wilson weaves together a number of intersecting threads centred on a set of characters. Some of these are much more crucial to the mystery aspects of the book than others, with some interchanges have little bearing on the case. The result is a storyline that seems more literary than crime/spy orientated and a plot that seems to make little sense at times. Consequently, while the story had its moments, overall it lacked coherence and didn’t ring true.