18 heinäkuuta, 2014

Indrek Hargla: Apteekkari Melchior ja Olevisten kirkon arvoitus

Apteeker Melchior ja Oleviste mõistatus (2010)
Indrek Hargla
suom. Jouko Vanhanen
Moreeni 2011
349 sivua
sarja: Apteeker Melchior #1

GR: 3/5 tähteä

I so wanted to give this one ("Apothecary Melchior and the mystery of St. Olaf's Church") four stars, maybe I will change it some day. Historical mysteries are my favourite genre when it comes to "lighter reading" and I felt this had the right amount of history in it and in addition it was probably the first book I had ever read that had been written in Estonian. (We, the speakers of small and/or Finno-Ugric languages should stick together... À propos, does anyone know any good, maybe contemporary fiction written in Hungarian?)

I thought the mystery and the plot was quite good, it was even based on some real events. I suppose I have to rely on the author to have written accurately about the life in Tallinn at the time, I don't know too much about it and the Finnish history is different during that time. It was interesting, nevertheless, and I learned something new about the Victual Brothers. (And I found a new book to read about the piracy in that era.)

The one thing I didn't care too much, was the characters. They weren't very interesting and I felt that especially the wife of Melchior only existed so that the author could explain things to the reader. The fact that she hadn't even noticed anything between Killian and Gerdrud sounded particularly unbelievable. Also the ending dragged on for a bit too long. Maybe it was realistic in regard to the time in which it was set and among people who didn't read or watch detectives stories like we do, but for a modern reader it was a bit tedious to read. But then again, it did explain the quite complicated and interesting mystery, which I guess it's the most important aspect in a mystery novel.

(The book mentioned bloodletting many times as a cure for any illness (it was set in 1409). It reminded me of the fact that my grandfather was actually "cured" with that in the 1930s. He had been sick for a long time and almost expected to die. The doctor had said that he was out of means to help him, and bloodletting was the only thing he could try anymore. For some reason my grandfather got better after that and lived 30 more years and died reasonably old.)

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