Daniel Fierman
January 31, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

By the Time You Read This

Current Status
In Season
Giles Blunt
Henry Holt and Company
Mystery and Thriller, Fiction

We gave it a C+

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+

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