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The Face on the Wall

de Jane Langton

Séries: Homer Kelly Mystery (13)

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1422146,856 (3.6)1
Long established as the queen of the New England mystery, Jane Langton threads each fast-selling Homer Kelly adventure with a wonderful sense of place, quirky surprises, thought-provoking themes, and her ever charming trademark line drawings.The Face on the Wall mirrors Langton's own artistic bent. Homer Kelly's hapless niece Annie Swann, an illustrator of children's books, has finally built the house of her dreams, complete with a blank wall thirty-five feet long. This is the perfect place for Annie to begin her masterpiece: a rich and complex painting, thick with fairy stories, honoring her lifelong passion. But again and again--however often she paints it out--there appears on the wall a mysterious, eerie face. When Annie finds her tenants? retarded eight-year-old son dead beneath it, she is sued for all she's worth by his parents, and it becomes a case for Uncle Homer. Can Homer banish the evil from Annie's paradise and save her beloved wall?With The Face on the Wall, Langton once again proves herself to be one of the cleverest, most erudite, and funniest mystery authors writing today.… (mais)
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Oh, I wish I liked it more. I loved her children's series, so, so much. But when characters in a children's book behave in a slightly artificial or theatrical way, somehow it seems more palatable then in a book supposedly pitched at an adult audience.

Her characters just didn't behave like real people. She completely lost me at one point when a girl's school decided to hold an impromptu assembly to congratulate one girl on winning a swim meet. Seriously. Like, they cancelled classes immediately, the students rehearsing the school play had to stop, everyone gathered so they could celebrate the swim meet win.

That would never happen. And to a lesser extent, it just kept on happening. There was no mystery because we knew whodunnit (there were two whodunnits, and we knew in both cases), and no mystery about whydunnit, or howdunnit ... so there was no mystery (save for "who is Flimnap," and that's not much of a one).

So it was unbelievable, not mysterious, and disappointing. Otherwise she's a lovely writer--her characters are distinct and different, she can create readable sentences and evoke a sense of place, etc., etc., but when the plot lets you down, and people don't behave realistically, it's hard to take.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). I feel a lot of readers automatically render any book they enjoy 5, but I grade on a curve! ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Oct 13, 2020 |
A fast-paced read with interesting characters. This is one of my favorites of the Homer Kelly mysteries I've read. I especially liked the fairytale/storyteller theme and the idea of the illustrated wall. This one is a keep to be re-read. ( )
  astraplain | Dec 8, 2009 |
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Long established as the queen of the New England mystery, Jane Langton threads each fast-selling Homer Kelly adventure with a wonderful sense of place, quirky surprises, thought-provoking themes, and her ever charming trademark line drawings.The Face on the Wall mirrors Langton's own artistic bent. Homer Kelly's hapless niece Annie Swann, an illustrator of children's books, has finally built the house of her dreams, complete with a blank wall thirty-five feet long. This is the perfect place for Annie to begin her masterpiece: a rich and complex painting, thick with fairy stories, honoring her lifelong passion. But again and again--however often she paints it out--there appears on the wall a mysterious, eerie face. When Annie finds her tenants? retarded eight-year-old son dead beneath it, she is sued for all she's worth by his parents, and it becomes a case for Uncle Homer. Can Homer banish the evil from Annie's paradise and save her beloved wall?With The Face on the Wall, Langton once again proves herself to be one of the cleverest, most erudite, and funniest mystery authors writing today.

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