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The Phantom of the Opal*

Not Much to It

I’m not quite sure what to think of this novelette. You can tell that it’s meant to introduce a new mystery series, even though there isn’t much of a mystery in it. To me, it felt more like an overlong short story, and there was no time to develop much of anything, and–given the “mystery”–there was not much to develop anyway. It seems more like a character and setting piece rather than a fleshed out story. Honestly, I don’t know if author–particularly mystery authors–are well served by writing a novelette like this. Because there is not much to it, it could just aggravate people who love to sink their teeth deeply into a juicy mystery. I thought, too, that there were way too many long and involved information dumps. Again, it seems like this existed just to set up the world for the series. I might check out the first book of the series and see if it is any good, as I have enjoyed longer stories by this author before, but this particular piece that is meant to whet the appetite for more actually left me feeling ambivalent.

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