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The Mermaid in the Basement

The Mermaid in the Basement (Lady Trent Mystery Series #1)4. Gilbert Morris, The Mermaid in the Basement

Lady Serafina Trent is an intelligent, rational woman who believes only in the scientific method. She feels able to cope with any crisis with the power of logic; but she finds herself unexpectedly at a loss when her brother Clive is accused of murder. Clive was in love with the dead woman, a predatory actress, and all the evidence seems to point to him. However, Serafina is determined to clear her brother’s name by finding the real killer. In the course of her investigation, she meets Dylan Tremayne, an actor who knew the murdered woman and who is familiar with the dangerous areas of London that Serafina must investigate. As the two work to solve the mystery, they become increasingly fascinated with each other, and Serafina also finds herself drawn to Dylan’s strong Christian beliefs.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The mystery itself was absorbing, although I guessed the murderer several chapters before the characters did. By and large, I liked the characters as well; my favorite was Inspector Matthew Grant, but the two leads were also likeable and well drawn. I did have one rather large problem with this book though: in my opinion, it was far too “preachy.” Even though I’m a Christian myself, I usually shy away from explicitly “Christian fiction,” because I feel like the books are just a vehicle for the authors to convey their beliefs. It annoys me when Christianity is all the characters seem to talk about, and in this book, Dylan’s long religious monologues frankly irritated me. I suppose it’s my own fault for picking up this book in the first place, since I knew it was a “Christian mystery” going in. And while the portrayal of religious characters didn’t suit my personal taste, fans of Christian or inspirational fiction will likely enjoy it. I do think the book was interesting and enjoyable overall, and I will probably continue with the series.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
I have this same issue with Christian fiction, and at this point I just avoid it. I can't quite put a finger on why it bugs me so much, beyond the obvious fact that any message should be an undercurrent to a story, and not take the place of one. I think a lot of times Christian writers are trying to use their story to reach a non-Christian audience for Christ, when their actual readers are Christians just looking to read a good story that relates to life as they experience it (or at least isn't an affront to their beliefs). As a result the author reaches neither audience. Another possibility is that the author feels like their writing can't glorify God without a four-point sermon including the gospel message, which is very sad and a mentality the church unfortunately teaches too often.
Feb. 1st, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
That is EXACTLY how I feel. Well put! I like fiction where the protagonists have good values, but no one really likes being sermonized all the time!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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