Ok. Well that’s that series done. I’m really not sure how I feel about The Case for Jamie. I was intrigued by the first novel A Study in Charlotte and liked quite a few things about it, but I absolutely hated the second The Last of August. It was too much of a shift in tone, some of the characters were too unsympathetic or cliché, and there were some holes in the plot and relationships that bothered me. This final part of the trilogy was a mix of the good stuff in the first and the bad stuff in the second.
In terms of the good, I liked how the focus went back to Charlotte and Jamie trying to figure each other out and to solve the crime(s) that forced them together or back together in this case. The only thing that I didn’t like was the suddenness in which they get personal after spending a year apart and misunderstanding some crucial things about each other. On another plus-minus note, I wish Lena had had more to do; she’s got so much potential as a character. Similarly, Kittredge a new (I think) addition seems to have some interesting possibilities but only gets the one scene.
What I’m kind of ambivalent about is the change in the narrative style (again). This time, the perspective changes between Jamie and Charlotte, alternative about every other chapter. At first this bothered me since it interrupted the flow of the story, but then I guess I either got used to it or they started sounding enough alike that I stopped noticing. I suspect it’s really a little of both. I also am not sure about the Moriarty clan. Lucien seems to have gone classic villain crazy, but hasn’t’ been developed enough for there to be any real believability to his plans etc throughout the whole series. On the other hand, Hadrian (another side character who could have been used to make things more interesting) shows a little personality besides being a petty criminal not thought very highly of by the rest of the cast.
What I really didn’t like was the overall stench of self-loathing and self-pitying that went on. Yes, they’ve both faced horrible things, but by this point both Jamie and Charlotte recognize this problem in themselves and each other. I also disliked how quickly the ending just suddenly abandoned several loose threads to focus on the happy ending for the two main characters. I admit I liked the Epilogue section for its completion of Jamie and Charlotte’s story, but what actually happened to Shelley and how did she get back? Where did Anna end up? Why did Elizabeth help Anna, and really what was the point of the maybe missing or not money? And why make Jamie’s mother an actual factor in the plot while keeping her as a non-presence as a character? – I mean, she never speaks directly in the entire book, and yet the villain uses her in an admittedly pretty brilliant way to get at Jamie. What ends up happening with Jamie’s dad and stepmother and Leander (the triangle dynamic had some interesting possibilities there)? NONE of these things are explained at all in the conclusion, and they all play a fairly large role in the final confrontation between Holmes/Watson vs Moriarty. If this hadn’t been the conclusion, I think I would have given up on this series after this. Either way, I think I need to stop now before my re-aggravation at reviewing the annoying parts overrides memory of the ok parts, and makes me reevaluate that 3 rating.