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Amber Twilight (Miriam Lynch)
#1
Sad 
All false modesty aside, I am usually not too bad to look at. Nice, kind men have said nice, kind things about me. They have described my hair as "wild and beautiful, like a gypsy's," and my eyes as "dark pools to drown in." Even taking into consideration a highball or two, or perhaps the romantic influences of moonlight and music, it couldn't be pure exaggeration. A few of the men even proved their basic sincerity by wanting to marry me.

The above is the first of many descriptions by the protagonist/narrator of herself. False modesty aside?

I disliked this protagonist even before the paragraph in question. From the outset of Amber Twilight (Belmont Double #B60-066, 1967), she aspires to embody TSTL (too stupid to live). While trespassing on the grounds of Blackhall, the local gothic manor, in order to photograph it, she is struck on the back of the head and wakes up in the house itself, apparently a prisoner to a bad-tempered old lady and her minions. She spends the next three chapters feeling sorry for herself and pleading with her captors to release her, and she even makes a half-hearted attempt to flee (we assume that's what she was doing when she takes to her feet and flails about aimlessly), only to be easily recaptured and put back to bed.

When by Chapter Four she still hadn't done the obvious -- tried to find a phone, hit somebody over the head with a candlestick, put up a real fight, etc. -- I gave up.

The one sin for which I can't forgive an author is to insult her reader's intelligence. Willing suspension of belief is one thing; asking us to identify with a protagonist who by every law of natural selection deserves to perish is another.

Previous to this, I'd read The Bells of Widow's Bay by the same author. It was slightly better, but its quality slackened as the story went on and the ending was dreadful. Remind me not to read any more Miriam Lynch novels.
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