Imagine the scene, it won’t be hard, you’ve turned the last page of your book and you settle down to write your review.
How much do you say about the ending?
If you read my post from yesterday which was of the classic crime fiction The Murder of Roger Ackroyd you’ll note that this is less of a review and more of, well I’m not really sure – a collection of quotes and a brief synopsis. Why? Well the reason why this book is held up as potentially one of the best written by Agatha Christie is because of the ending, at the time the whole set up was a new idea, and although it may be not so unusual in modern crime fiction it was this device that made the book quite so exceptional. But I review books and obviously if I told you the ending it would spoil your enjoyment so I’m left waffling on sprinkling quotes on a page and not able to talk about the one thing that made the book so wonderful.
For those of us that read and review, this problem isn’t a new one, and often I’m fine with that but this is the one area where blogging just doesn’t create quite the same experience as discussing a book with others who have read it. After all a good ending is key to an enjoyable reading experience and the very bit I am not able to dissect in my writing whereas I could have written an entire post about what I thought of the ending!!
This is particularly true in crime fiction series. How do we know if they’ve ended? One of my favourites wrapped up the main story arc in the latest book – who knows if this is the final episode? Who can I ask? There have been no clues given so I suppose I’m just going to have to wait and see…
Of course the obvious way to finish a crime series is to kill off the lead detective as Colin Dexter did to Morse in A Remorseful Day and it is well-known that Agatha Christie tired of her little Belgium detective and killed him off! Reginald Hill indicated a similar intent in his last book featuring Daziel with Death of the Fat Man. All a bit final but how else do you stop the readers clamouring for more of their favourite detectives? And is it my imagination or are detectives getting younger these days? (Perhaps I’m just getting older?) What is the modern crime-writer to do with their younger cast? Only this week I came across a blog post by Sharon Bolton entitled Please don’t ask me when Lacey is coming back. I simply don’t know, which summed up the issue from this author’s perspective and after all author’s these days can’t hide from their readers, we can stalk them on social media begging for another story featuring our favourite characters!
What do you think about endings? How do you tackle them in your reviews?