Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Rosetta by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review comes from Terry, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry chose to read and review Rosetta by Simon Cornish


Rosetta by Simon Cornish

3.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team

I quite liked this; it’s a terrific plot. Following the unexpected death of his old university professor, Graham Chandlers travels to Exeter for the funeral. He is bewildered by the strange ritual performed by the professor’s adopted daughter at the funeral service, a ritual delivered in an ancient language that only a handful of paleolinguists, Graham included, would have a hope of understanding. He is drawn in further when he studies the professor’s private journals that hint at a cover-up concerning the professor’s last dig.

This short novella is intelligently written and unusual. It’s a shame, though, that it wasn’t a bit longer with a less abrupt resolution; the story lends itself more to a full length novel, or at least a longer novella. I felt that it needed another redraft and perhaps a closer edit. Example: ‘they ate sitting at the table by the double sash windows’. Why ‘double sash’? Just ‘window’ would have been enough, or even ‘they ate at a table by the window’ (most people sit when eating, it’s not necessary to state it). I know that’s a little nit-picking, but it’s just one that jumped out at me. Novellas work best when they contain absolutely no superfluous information; some of it seemed to come directly from the research notes. Had the story been longer, such sections might have fitted in more smoothly. It could do with another proofread; there are a fair few punctuation errors.

I thought the characterisation of Tinkerbell, the jovial and hard drinking Dr Timothy Bell, was excellent, the exchanges between him and Graham spot on. I liked some of the observations very much: ‘there was a stillness to the place that was both restful and lonely’ (that gave possibly the best impression of the house), also: ‘Funerals are never nice, people say they are nice or that the service was lovely, but mostly funerals are just uncomfortable’, and the one with which the story begins: ‘There is a denial of finality that comes with the arrogance of youth.’

To sum up: a great idea, nicely written, needs a bit of tidying up and perhaps a tad more punch. Graham Chandlers is a quietly appealing character who could be taken further, I think, and I am sure that people who enjoy stories of cover-ups and mysteries will like it.

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7 thoughts on “Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Rosetta by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse #TuesdayBookBlog

  1. I enjoyed this but, like you, felt it could have been a longer read. It starts off as though it’s going to be a full length novel then it’s all a rush. I really liked the characters.


    • Yes, I thought Tinkerbell in partic had great potential! It’s hard, sometimes, to work out which stories should be novels and which should be novellas. This should have been the former, I think.


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