Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder

The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder is Sarah J. Harris's  debut adult novel.

"Synesthesia: the subjective sensation of a sense other than the one being stimulated. For example, a sound may evoke sensations of color."

Jasper Wishart hears colors. For everything - words, sounds, people's voices. He also cannot recognize faces and is on the autism spectrum.

"I'm glad I'm not like most other teenage boys because I get to see the world in its full multicolored glory."

The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder opens with Jasper being interviewed about a neighbour's disappearance - although Jasper is sure it is murder. He needs to "untangle the long, snaky ticker tape in my head." Because he thinks he's the one who killed Bee......

Harris has created a wonderful lead character in Jasper. My heart ached for him as he is bullied at school, subjected to angry neighbours and at times disparaged by his father. (Who, to be fair, is struggling himself) Jasper desperately misses his deceased mother, who could also see the colors. (she alone is cobalt blue) But Harris also transmits the joy Jasper feels when painting and when observing and journaling the lives of his beloved wild parakeets. His desire and determination to find the truth will have the reader firmly in his corner. I loved his voice and thoughts.

Jasper's color descriptions of people, things, sounds and words make perfect sense. An angry dog - 'red triangles stretch into pointed deep orange darts." "Estranged was a gray gravel-chip word and not pleasant to look at for long."

As the book is told through Jasper's narrative, the reader has only his memories and flawed observations to go on. We can slowly put together the pieces that are laid out, but there is no way to guess the final whodunit before the final pages.

A really good read - Here's an excerpt of The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder. If you enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, you'll love the Color of Bee Larkham's Murder.


bermudaonion said...

Jasper sounds like a marvelous character.

Kay said...

I do like the sound of this one and I've read other books with characters that had synesthesia. I'm kind of fascinated with that condition, though I'm sure it's not at all comfortable. Thanks for featuring it and reminding me about it.

Luanne said...

He is Bermudaonion.

Kay, it's worth a read when you have time.

holdenj said...

I just read another book where a character has synesthesia, it is an interesting device to use.