The One for Old Bookshop Lovers

Anne Perry, The Scroll (2011; French 2014)

The French title is quite misleading, as it means “Mystery on High Street”, and I got the idea that it was a crime short story set in London.

All wrong! It’s a supernatural short story set in Cambridge. But it doesn’t really matter because I got over my disappointment soon enough: it’s a short read that you can finish under half an hour, an easy, entertaining read. Not the book you’ll remember in a few years, but still nothing to be ashamed of.

I was surprised to see Anne Perry venture into supernatural stuff with heavy religious undertones à la Da Vinci Code. The mystery centers on a scroll dating from Jesus’s time, found among old books and containing earth-shattering secrets.

To be honest the earth-shattering secret wasn’t that innovative, it was more a sketch rather than a fully-drawn plot. The best part is the atmosphere. Anne Perry manages to convey the threat of darkness, the sudden change in the quality of silence, in only a few sentences. Then the mystery dispels itself as suddenly and as easily as it came, just like a summer storm.

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