In 1918, a coffin bearing the inscription ‘Body unknown, Died at sea, 1889′ is pulled from the sea off the coast of Ireland. When the coffin is opened up, the corpse within is that of a pretty young woman, known to the men who have found the coffin. Meanwhile, in London W. B. Yeats, Irish poet and occultist, has received a letter from the woman, exhorting him to return to Ireland to investigate her death.
So begins The Blood Dimmed Tide, with an intriguing set up for a mystery. It’s a heady mix that’s pretty much guaranteed to suck me in: a murder mystery, supernatural goings on and a historical setting. So far, so promising, right?
I found it tough going to get into, although I can’t quite put my finger on why. Something about the way it is written, the slightly stilted Victorian pastiche, just didn’t appeal to me. I found W. B. Yeats’ character deeply irritating, and as for the mystery itself… Wel, let’s just say that Occam’s Razor applies here and leave it at that. There’s also far too much pointless faffing about on beaches and tedious blather about ocultism for my liking.
There are some good points. For a start, I finished it, which is saying something – I’m much less patient than I used to be. The suplot involving Yeats’ wife Georgie and her newly acquired skill at automatic writing I found amusing, and despite my difficulties engaging in the writing, I don’t think it’s the fault of the author. It’s well written, but just didn’t click with me.
I should also add that the book might appeal more to someone who isn’t as wholly ignorant of the life of W. B. Yeats and the history of Ireland as me, but overall, I found this deeply disappointing after the opening and the blurb on the back that hooked me in.