I finished the latest Carol Goodman novel, Arcadia Falls, last night. It was quintessential Carol Goodman - a woman teaching at a boarding school, a murder, an old mystery with echoes in the present, details about art history, a police officer love interest... I could write a computer program that would create the plot of a Carol Goodman novel MadLibs-style, which sounds mean, though I don't intend it to. I like these books. She's reliable. And although I can predict the overall themes, I can't predict what precisely will occur in a given book (who the murderer is, who's hiding something, etc.). I like her writing, and I like discovering those things.
One thing I noticed in Arcadia Falls is how current her cultural references are. The main character has a seventeen-year-old daughter, so there are lots of mentions of iPods, Anthropologie, texting, bands like The Decemberists and The Vivian Girls, and other of-the-moment stuff. It's weird, because that should make the story seem more real, and yet I felt distracted by it. Maybe it was because I kept thinking about how out-of-date that will make the book seem in a few years.
Overall, it was a good one - not my favorite of hers, but enjoyable nevertheless. Enjoyable enough that I stayed up till 2:30am last night to finish it. Should you read it? If you like her books, or like any of the themes she focuses on, then yeah, sure. It's a quick read, too.
Up next? Another book of P.G. Wodehouse's short stories about Jeeves.