Book Review: A Private Business by Barbara Nadel

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A Private Business by Barbara Nadel is set in the East End of London and is the first of a new series which features ex-copper and now private investigator and his new assistant who is a Muslim widow with a step daughter who doesn’t seem that upset of her widow’s status – back story ahoy!  Lee’s firm are hired by Maria a comedian who following the death of her husband has tried a comeback on the comedy circuit that isn’t going too well as she feels that she’s being followed by someone. Maria has also become involved with a local church where exorcisms are practiced regularly and the coming of the Rapture is eagerly awaited. 

As Maria seemingly descends into depression and suspicions fall on her new church friends, we also learn about a murder involving two members of other churches, the step daughters dodgy friendship, a flasher near the Olympic park, Maria’s back story, and what the convicted flasher from the 1970s does with his time and the life of a Muslim family trying to marry off their daughter before she becomes too old. 

This book just frustrated me! I wanted it to say things about the Olympics and how it affected the East End in the years leading up to the games, I wanted it to express views and tell stories about the communities in the East End but it just fell short and offered no real insights that hadn’t been portrayed before. The account of the riots of 2011 was perfunctory at best and rolled out the old stories of people stealing televisions and trainers – it just didn’t give me anything new. 

I tried to like this book but it didn’t grab me by the collar and make me want to tune everything out so I could finish it and it was a drag to get through the thing. Everything linked in too conveniently for my liking and the characters either didn’t ring true or they stereotypes of characters that we’ve seen time and time before – the Muslim widow whose mother is trying to marry her off, the charismatic preacher who might be dodgy, the peeping tom who is slimy and horrible and the list carries on. 

Nothing much seems to happen right until the end of the book and even when it does it was really difficult to actually care what happened to any of the characters, there was a twist that happened to Mur that obviously set up a continuing storyline for the books to follow but it just didn’t make any sense and the other twists that took place in the epilogue just left me feeling flat. 

I like London and I like books set in London but A Private Business didn’t give me anything that I haven’t seen before. I didn’t like the characters, the story didn’t really ring true and it didn’t leave me with any desire to read the sequel. A missed opportunity.

Private Business by Barbara Nadel is set in the East End of London and is the first of a new series which features ex-copper and now private investigator and his new assistant who is a Muslim widow with a step daughter who doesn’t seem that upset of her widow’s status – back story ahoy! Lee’s firm are hired by Maria a comedian who following the death of her husband has tried a comeback on the comedy circuit that isn’t going too well as she feels that she’s being followed by someone. Maria has also become involved with a local church where exorcisms are practiced regularly and the coming of the Rapture is eagerly awaited.

As Maria seemingly descends into depression and suspicions fall on her new church friends, we also learn about a murder involving two members of other churches, the step daughters dodgy friendship, a flasher near the Olympic park, Mur,s back story, and what the convicted flasher from the 1970s does with his time and the life of a Muslim family trying to marry off their daughter before she becomes too old.

This book just frustrated me! I wanted it to say things about the Olympics and how it affected the East End in the years leading up to the games, I wanted it to express views and tell stories about the communities in the East End but it just fell short and offered no real insights that hadn’t been portrayed before. The account of the riots of 2011 was perfunctory at best and rolled out the old stories of people stealing televisions and trainers – it just didn’t give me anything new.

I tried to like this book but it didn’t grab me by the collar and make me want to tune everything out so I could finish it and it was a drag to get through the thing. Everything linked in too conveniently for my liking and the characters either didn’t ring true or they stereotypes of characters that we’ve seen time and time before – the Muslim widow whose mother is trying to marry her off, the charismatic preacher who might be dodgy, the peeping tom who is slimy and horrible and the list carries on.

Nothing much seems to happen right until the end of the book and even when it does it was really difficult to actually care what happened to any of the characters, there was a twist that happened to Mur that obviously set up a continuing storyline for the books to follow but it just didn’t make any sense and the other twists that took place in the epilogue just left me feeling flat.

I like London and I like books set in London but A Private Business didn’t give me anything that I haven’t seen before. I didn’t like the characters, the story didn’t really ring true and it didn’t leave me with any desire to read the sequel. A missed opportunity.

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