Just finished last night: All Clear, the second part of the two-part novel that began with Blackout, written by Connie Willis. It’s time travel to the Blitz! It’s a comedy, not a tragedy! Seriously, the level of historical detail is terrific, especially for an Anglophile like me, but to be honest, these two books could have used some serious editing. There is a lot of repetition, and a good editor could have cut them down to the size of one novel. But I guess that would mean half the sales.
However, what irritated me most about this novel, was a tiny Agatha Christie reference. Actually, Willis references Christie a lot, and even has her make a brief cameo. She loves her British mystery writers, I guess, because Dorothy L. Sayers was constantly referenced in To Say Nothing of the Dog. I have read a lot of Agatha Christie in my time (virtually everything she’s written), so I was eager to follow the clues left in All Clear and solve the mystery of what exactly the time travelers were doing to the space-time continuum. I particularly glommed on to what I thought was a deliberate clue: Willis refers to The Murder on the Orient Express as Murder in the Calais Coach. I thought the slight title change meant that the space-time continuum was being altered. Turns out, Willis just flubbed and used the American title of the novel, even though all her characters are British. This little goof irritated me because Murder on the Orient Express is so famous and also because it made me believe Willis was being more clever than she actually was.
Well, it’s a fun couple of books, if you enjoy World War II fiction, but a bit overlong and repetitious. Next up: another sequel, another big book, The Twelve by Justin Cronin.