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The Shortest Day: Murder at the Revels (1995)

de Jane Langton

Séries: Homer Kelly Mystery (11)

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1516137,950 (3.55)11
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a jealous and deranged husband sets out to murder the men he imagines are his wife's suitors. He kills three before Mary Kelly, wife of a Harvard professor, fingers him. By the author of Divine Inspiration.
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Excellent mystery and especially enjoyable for those who have attended the Christmas Revels in Cambridge or elsewhere. ( )
  auntieknickers | Jul 10, 2020 |
Read during Spring 2004

I just loved this Homer Kelly Mystery, not just for the usual things but for being located every place that I live, work, and hobby. There were a few quibbles about geography and astronomy but it was so enjoyable I forgave them immediately. I needed to read it in last December's snowstorm to really feel authentic, though.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
In this installment of the Homer Kelly series, there is no doubt of the identity of the murder/serial killer from the beginning. What is strange is that he isn't caught before he commits so many murders. It begins with an actor from the play at the Revels being run over. Then slowly, others from the play are killed or harmed. In the meantime there is a homeless encampment at Harvard University which is drawing attention. This is definitely not Langton's finest work, and besides being on the set of the play from time to time, Homer really plays a very minor role in the mystery. It just resolves itself, although Homer does play a slight role in the resolution. Perhaps the author is trying to make this more of a psychological portrayal of a killer, but if so, she is not as successful as other authors such as Ruth Rendell. The thing that I probably enjoyed most were the quotes from poems and plays that preceded each chapter. ( )
  thornton37814 | Dec 7, 2013 |
This is a genre I like and the story and setting seemed promising, but I simply did not like it to the extent that I gave up half way, in spite of it being a quick read.
The question of murderer is clear from beginning, also the motive and the means, the subplot of the homeless occupying the campus may be trying to be humoureous relief, but did not work for me. What for the reader is to wait until the hero figures out the murder, and how ever the occupation unravels.. I guess one could argue that if you are interested in the psychology of a murderer there could be that, but maybe because I am a psychologist I thought that this was a bit too pretentious for my taste. ( )
  Bookoholic73 | Jul 26, 2012 |
December in Cambridge, Mass., finds Mary Kelly participating in the annual Cambridge Revels, a grand holiday production rooted in the traditions of ancient England. Her husband, Homer, suddenly finds the Christmas spirit when he agrees to fill in for an ill cast member. Unfortunately, Homer isn't the only substitute that director Sarah Bailey needs to find when a series of fatal accidents befall various cast members. Mary Kelly is perceptive enough to pick up some malevolent undercurrents during rehearsals, but she can't manage to get Homer's attention long enough to air her thoughts. A sub-plot pitting homeless protesters against the Harvard administration provides some light relief from the psychological tension.

I've come to enjoy Jane Langton's style in the Homer Kelly mysteries. As often as not, the narrator informs the reader of the killer's mindset and the warped thinking that drives him to murder. We know what the killer intends to do, and that eventually Homer and/or Mary will catch on. But will they figure things out in time to prevent a death?

This is probably a 3 1/2 star book, but I gave it an extra half star for the pleasure I received from reading the excerpts from old carols and mummers' plays at the beginning of each chapter. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Dec 22, 2009 |
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So the shortest day came, and the year died, And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world Came people singing, dancing, To drive the dark away... (Susan Cooper)
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The death of the folk singer from the South was a bitter disappointment to everyone who had bought tickets for the Christmas Revels.
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In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a jealous and deranged husband sets out to murder the men he imagines are his wife's suitors. He kills three before Mary Kelly, wife of a Harvard professor, fingers him. By the author of Divine Inspiration.

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