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Hardcover The Marx Sisters Book

ISBN: 1559704748

ISBN13: 9781559704748

The Marx Sisters

(Book #1 in the Brock & Kolla Series)

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Like New

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Book Overview

This first book in the Brock and Kolla Mystery series was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association's John Creasey Award for best first mystery and met with wide acclaim. It introduced the team of... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

False leads everywhere

Three eccentric old ladies live in Jerusalem Lane, a street that has somehow survived in its centuries-old form and kept a neighborhood feeling besides - a phenomenon in the heart of London. One day Meredith, the eldest sister, is found dead in her bed, possibly smothered. The case dies a natural death from lack of evidence, but not for long. Kathy and Brock are the detectives in charge. She's an attractive young woman, very sharp, but with a tendency to leap before she looks. He's a wise graybeard, sexy for his age, and a hotshot from Scotland Yard. The dynamics between them are subtly handled. Getting the right perpetrator is a challenge, since there are several likely motives. It might be the big bad developer who wants to buy out the old ladies and get their property. Or it might be someone after a valuable manuscript allegedly by Karl Marx. It might even be a person enraged by the managing personality of Meredith. The author reveals by the title of his book that these elderly sisters are descendants of Marx, but the sisters themselves keep it quiet. In a sense they're waiting for Karl Marx to regain his popularity! Getting to know these old ladies is one of the many delights of the plot. Overall, THE MARX SISTERS has a great cast of characters, with the good guys and the bad guys sometimes changing place. The writing style is terse and to the purpose, and the author has an excellent ear for dialog. I'm delighted to have found this series.

A truly outstanding mystery

I have read quite a few mysteries in my time, but only a very few that were as good as this one. The detectives are very likable and three-dimensional. The cast of suspects are very colorful and also well-developed. I liked the way Maitland takes his time developing his two main characters; he allows the reader to become curious about what Kathy and David are really like, and then slowly reveals their personalities and backgrounds. The plot is satisfyingly complex, taking many twists and turns until the final surprising conclusion. The thing that makes this book unusually good is the fact that it combines the great plotting of British mysteries with a faster, more American-like pace. I will definitely be reading this entire series, assuming it continues to be even close to as good as this installment.

Positively dripping with atmosphere and intelligence

It came as no suprise to me that Barry Maitland has an architectural background, as this book is as much about place as people. His fictional Londan street, "Jerusalem Lane" springs to life through his masterful descriptions. Jerusalem Lane to my imagination was a slice of Central Europe set down in London, with all of that region's tangled politics and ethnic tensions.When one of three sisters living together in one of the old houses on the street is found dead, Kathy Kolla on her first murder case is unable to find enough evidence to continue the investigation, even with the assistance of one of Scotland Yard's finest, Inspector Brock. However, when the second of the three sisters is found dead in similar circumstances, Kolla and Brock know that it must be murder.Whether the murders were done by greedy property developers, greedy relatives, alienated neighbors or perhaps a victim of obsession is the puzzle. It should keep you guessing to the end. Even though Kolla and brock would seem to be stock characters, "rookie and old-timer", they both are interesting, complex and intriguing. I wonder why this series, so long known in England and Australia was so slow in being published here. I look forward to the rest of the series.

Marx, Engels,Kolla and Brock, A British Police Procedural

Jerusalem Lane, a strange 19th century remnant in a most desirable section of London, is home to an unusual group of people. When one of them is found dead, DS Kathy Kolla and DCI David Brock investigate. After several days, it is decided that foul play was not involved, so the investigation is called off. Six months later, the second of the three sisters dies, and Kolla and Brock are called in to investigate.Maitland's training as an architect is obvious in this, the first of 5 books in the series. By using real street names, just moving them around a bit, and changing them slightly (there is a Jerusalem Passage near the area in which he places Jerusalem Lane), giving the street and buildings a history, (Marx and Engels purportedly lived in one of the houses on the Lane) and even describing the geography of the street, he makes the area one of the protagonists in the story, at times, the main protagonist in the story.I enjoyed this to the extent that I went out and bought the other 3 books available in paperback by this author(in the UK). I understand that the 5th in the series has just been published in Australia.

Great police procedural

Three elderly sisters, great-granddaughters of Karl Marx, share a house in the quaint Victorian Jerusalem Lane section of London. Meredith Winterbottom is a successful capitalist. Peg Blythe believes that a strong Socialist party is the only answer to the economy. Eleanor Harper believes in scientific socialism. When Eleanor and Peg return from a walk together, they find their third sibling lying dead in her bed.Detective Sergeant Kathy Kolla investigates the case because the doctor of record feels foul play occurred. To Kathy's shock, Scotland Yard Chief Inspector David Brock accompanies her on her investigation. As they make their inquiries, they learn that First City Properties has been buying up the land for years in order to construct a major office project that would destroy the current neighborhood. Meredith was the solo hold-out. They learn more about the siblings and other suspects arise such as a Princeton University historian and the deceased's son. Each had motive and opportunity. However, the brass abruptly closes the case without solution until someone murders Eleanor.The first American printing of the highly regarded police team of Kolla and Brock demonstrates why this series is so well received across the ocean. The story line is crisp, filled with twists, and never lets up for a moment. The characters, including the secondary players, are intelligent and their motives well defined. THE MARX SISTERS is must reading for fans of police procedurals, who will clamor for more of Barry Maitland's novels to be released in the states.Harriet Klausner
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