I’ve had this one waiting for a while, and I can only apologise for the time it’s taken to actually post the review, but hopefully Samantha will be willing to forgive me because as the old proverb says “Better late than never”. Anyway, before we move onto the actual review, let’s give a quick intro to the author. Samantha Goodwin, as a Chartered Marketing Manager of over ten years, currently based in Leeds, and Murder at Macbeth, the book we are here to review today, is her first crime novel. It was also longlisted for the international Flash 500 Novel Award 2017. If you would like to find out a little more about Goodwin, then you can check out this interview I did with her a while back by clicking here.
Okay, now onto the actual review, I’m always excited to read new crime fiction, it’s by far my favourite genre, and it’s one that’s easy to dip your toe into, difficult to do truly well, and provides a perfect backdrop for a whole host of human elements that make fiction in general engaging. Murder at Macbeth, stands tall amongst many other great entries into the genre, I truly enjoyed it, and for a first attempt it’s all the more impressive.
Despite the time it took to get the review up, and I apologize again, It was a quick read, one that I just kind of consumed in one late night binge, no rushing, it’s just well paced and plotted for maximum engagement, and I was just kind of absorbed into the narrative. I felt like I could see and feel things clearly, which isn’t always a given regardless of the quality of the writing or experience of the author. So for Murder at Macbeth, to paint such a vivid picture, is in my opinion a very big positive for it, and tells me that I should keep an eye our for the author in the future.
Characterisation, another element which can make or break a novel, particularly in crime fiction, which as I’ve said up top, is very people driven, Goodwin does not let us down, the detectives in particular were rich and engaging, with their own chemistry and dynamic, something I greatly appreciate, and that can often be overlooked for plot purposes. Stemming from the idea that the characters are a method for the plot to exposit itself, when in fact they are all pieces in the puzzle you are building on the page. I feel that Goodwin understands this and given equal weight and bearing to every element of her story, and perhaps that’s why it was such an easy, engaging read and why I connected so well with her characters.
Something I particularly enjoyed was that the plot revolves around the death of a young woman, during a production of Macbeth, because as every theatre buff will know, Macbeth is famously cursed, often called ‘The Scottish Play’ instead to avoid saying the name while in the theatre. So I thought it was rather clever to have the death take place during such a production because it adds a layer of depth and irony to the whole story that certainly tickled me a little, albeit in a morbid fashion.
I’ve talked about character and plot, now a little about execution, and no not that kind. What I mean is how the story is executed, it’s an honest to god, murder mystery, not just an investigation or a police procedural (which I also like) but instead has all the energy and rhythm of a classic murder mystery. I was also surprised by who the killer was, and feel that the build off and the pay off to the murder really worked.
So overall I found this to be a well written and complex narrative, that was clever and genuinely interesting, I really enjoyed reading it, so much so I almost forgot it was for review purposes, blurring the line even more between my personal reading, and the reading I do for the site. I strongly urge you to check out this debut novel by Goodwin, and keep an eye out for more. I guess all that’s left to say is that Murder at Macbeth, earns a 5/5. You can grab a copy of the book for yourself by heading on over to Amazon.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/