Cedardale Court is a neo-gothic murder mystery with enough fools and old flames to keep you happily mixed up for most of a long weekend. When Canner Connelly and his daughter, Chloe, move in with their Uncle Henry, and a simple drainage problem turns a normal Sunday morning into a slightly darker affair, it's not easy to tell where everyone might end up, or if they'll even make it at all.
When Mr. Christensen e-mailed asking to review his book he had me at "neo-gothic murder mystery". I had no idea what such a novel was and decided this was the perfect time to find out, and let me tell you, I'm glad I did. This book turned out to be a very enjoyable read with great characters, plenty of plot twists, some laughs, engaging writing and a surprise ending.
Christensen's characters are so different and so quirky in their own unique ways that it's hard to pick a favorite. I loved the spunky 10-year-old Chloe, her perpetually paranoid dad who sees his deceased wife's ghost on a regular basis, the good old Uncle Henry, the take-charge detective Birch and even Charlie the cat who gets his own time in the spotlight and adds to the charm. The villains were a total surprise and not just because of their identities. I just never expected them to be quite the kind of people they were, or became, and that made the story more intense.
I really enjoyed Mr. Christensen't writing. It was fun and easy to read, the dialogue felt fresh and realistic and moved right along, and I felt that the voice was perfect for this story. There were some minor spelling issues and grammatical errors in places where editing obviously took place, so I think the book would benefit if someone read it through with a fresh eye and corrected those problem areas.
Cedardale Court was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to those who enjoy an offbeat murder mystery and aren't put off by occasional grammatical or spelling error. I look forward to seeing what Mr. Christensen does with his next book.