By the Time You Read This

Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Fiction; Author: Giles Blunt; Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

In Giles Blunt’s By the Time You Read This, Detective John Cardinal, pride of arctic-cold Algonquin Bay, Canada, has an unstable wife who kills herself. But since this is a mystery, she can’t have died by her own hand — and since Cardinal’s a lawman, he’s gotta shake his grief and find the culprit. This would all be fine if Blunt didn’t clumsily rattle on and on about Cardinal’s misery. (It also doesn’t help that the villain is pulled from the Big Book of Serial Killer Clichés.) The resulting novel resembles a photocopy of a photocopy of the elegant, spare work of Northern European crime specialists like Henning Menkell — readable stuff that lingers poorly in the mind. C+

Originally posted January 31 2007 — 12:00 AM EST

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