(I read this last year & was convinced I had already posted my review, but as I definitely can't locate it, am adding now, instead!)
SYNOPSIS: In peaceful, idyllic Oxford, a young reverend finds amusement in entertaining his colleague's daughters with riddles, stories and photography. In grimy, Victorian London, a literally down at heel journalist finds himself investigating a séance only to receive an unexpected message from his deceased brother, followed by finding himself falsely imprisoned for a murder he did not commit. These disparate & seemingly unconnected storylines intertwine into a compelling period mystery.
THOUGHTS: Gray’s fictionalised portrait of Lewis Carroll is unmistakable, and I think remarkably well done, even down to the poetry-after-the-style-of. I was relieved that despite a plot largely based around child pornography/photography, Gray did not succumb to making Carroll/Boltbyn the villain of the piece, and in fact painted a very sympathetic picture, despite the scandal that has historically dogged Carroll’s friendship with the young Alice Liddell.
But this mystery novel is far more than an homage to/veiled biography of Carroll. The chapters spliced between the Oxford ‘idyll’ kept me equally entertained, with wonderful descriptions of Whitty's life in London told lightly, and with a deadpan, self-deprecating wit. This was my second reading of ‘White Stone Day’ and I enjoyed it even more than first time around. Gray manages to tell a distasteful tale without leaving a sour taste in the mouth, and in fact leaving the reader anxiously awaiting a second helping.
/ Enchanted Times Currently reading:
Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman