Bright Young Dead
This novel is set in the genre of Downtown Abbey – and is the second in a series (that can be read alone). The author is the niece of the creator of Downtown Abbey and she has previously published a number of guides to the show.
Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the first novel, it felt tooooo much like Downtown and there seemed far too many characters and not enough character development. There’s no denying the accuracy and research that went into the novel, I just found it a bit slow.
This novel, Bright Young Dead, is a bit faster paced and some of the weaker characters from the previous novel begin to shine – but still I feel there’s just something lacking. I wonder if Fellowes has some great plan than spans many novels and that she’s building to something great. The issue for me is that I don’t think the novel is the right format for this. Or that the vision doesn’t quite match the execution – I’m sure she knows her characters well, and that with her insight the depth of feeling is apparent, but as a reader it all fell (sadly) a little flat again.
That said, it’s not a bad read – and interestingly is based loosely on fact. The novel follows a group of rich, young people in the 1920s and the murder of one of their party at a birthday celebration. There’s a false accusation, an amateur sleuth and a gang of female thieves…so enough to keep you reading.
I suspect for real Downtown type fans this would be a much anticipated and enjoyed read, but for me it was just “fine”. The bit I enjoyed the most was the Postscript – discovering a little more of Alice Diamond; and that’s probably not a great sign…