Friday, May 9, 2014

The Last Act of All by Aline Thompson

First Sentence: Each time tonight, when her eyelids dropped over burning eyes, she could see the scene again, lit by memory as mercilessly as any performed under television arc-lights.

Actress Helena Fielding gave up her career when she became the wife of actor Neville Fielding, star of a highly successful television series. When Neville decides they should buy a house in the remote village of Radnesfield, nothing is the same.

Talk about an intriguing opening. One, at first, can’t help but wonder where the story is going, but you sense it is well worth following the author’s path. You soon realize the story actually begins in the middle of the character’s narrative, than moves back to. Rather than this being distracting or frustrating, it proves a fascinating way of learning about the characters, the backgrounds, and potential motives. In this case, it is incredibly effective and impactful.

The characters, both good and bad, are very effective. Templeton captures perfectly the nature of a small, insular village and the collective of gossiping church ladies. Mr. Tilson, an observer of people and the village, is someone with whom you would very much like to spend time. The dialogue between him and D.S. Fielding is a treat… “He smiled. ‘Come and talk to me again. I collect people, you know.” “’Like slugs in a jam jar,”’ Frances quoted… [No, I don’t know the source. Anyone?] Tilson’s assessment of people’s reactions to a disturbing announcement is quite wonderful.

Templeton is a wonderful writer. There is an analogy that is particularly memorable.

Last Act of All” is an excellent read. It draws you in and keeps you there, including a very well-done surprise, and a killer I certainly didn’t see coming.

LAST ACT OF ALL (Mys/Pol Proc-Helena Fielding/D.S. Frances Howarth-England-Contemp – Ex
Templeton, Aline
Amazon Digital Services, 2014-Novelette

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