I am reading a book.
Why thank you. I’m proud of myself too.
Not any old book though - a murder-mystery-detective-type-thing. It’s very good.
As is normal in these situations, there is a blurb on the back, which, effectively, gives you three Crucial Pieces of Information:
CPI 1: there is a murder. So far, so normal.
CPI 2: there is another murder. Again, only to be expected.
CPI 3: one of the main characters disappears. Aha! An interesting twist. Wonder where it will lead?
There is also the usual bit of guff about the main detective. Fair enough - they have to tell you something.
There is, however, a problem.
The problem is not CPI 1 - the book starts with the first murder, and, let’s face it, it wouldn’t be much of a m-m-d-t-t without one of those.
CPI 2, coming as it did at page 100 (of a 320-page book), was only to be expected - we had, after all, spent about ten pages inside the murderer’s head (MWAHAHAHA!!) as he planned it, so it would have been a little bit of a let-down if he had decided to stay in and watch reruns of Quincy instead. Plus, to be honest, if the body count stops at one in a book of this type, you feel a little short-changed.
I keep reading. And I keep reading. And keep reading. It’s all terrific stuff, but I can’t help thinking: “when do we get to the bit where this character, the one I’m reading about right now, the one whose internal machinations I am currently privy and in thrall to, the one who is quite clearly a pivoty central-type-person in the plot, because it says on the back cover that she disappears, when do we get to the bit where she actually, you know, disappears? You know, THE BIT YOU’VE ALREADY TOLD ME ABOUT”.
Page 200, that’s when.
Page 200. That’s about two thirds of the way through the book.
WT, as the saying goes, F?
It’s as if I was watching a film, and as the opening credits roll, someone stands up and announces to the assembled throngette: “you see him? He gets killed eighty minutes in, he does.” (In fact, don’t get me started on cinema trailers).
Charlie Brown would have known what to say.
Who does these things? What blithering, lobotomised, candy-floss-brained son of a mongoose thinks: “I know, as it’s a murder mystery, let’s unravel the writer’s carefully-crafted, finely-wrought, clever-twisty-plot-type-stuff by telling the reader what’s going to happen in the book before they’ve even started reading it”?
And I thought spoilers were the things on the back of naff cars.