Tuesday, December 30, 2008


What made me interested to read this, was because this was the only whodunit story by Frank Yerby. I like Yerby's works. I must admit that this book's cover made me ashamed, but I have known that Yerby works are not what the cover depicts. I think the publisher thought that if they used a cover like this, they could sell more copies.

Gillian is published in 1960 and the story centres around Gillian MacAllister (of course), a lovely blonde who inherits a steel factory in Birmingham. Her character is like Jekyll - Hyde type: sometimes she is like an angel and sometimes she is like the devil incarnate.

Geoffry Lynne, a writer, narrates the story. After staying in Europe for years, he returns to Birmingham, Alabama in 1908. Soon after, Gillian is found dead, murdered, and his brother Gregory gives himself up to the police. Many believe that Gregory is innocent and cannot do such thing, but why he has confessed? Geoffry thinks his brother is protecting someone, most likely Hero, the woman he loves. Geoffry then interviews those who were close to Gillian, mostly Michael Ames (Gillian's husband) and Hero Farnsworth (a young widow who loves Michael) and the results are this book. So we have here a whodunit story where each chapter/incident is told from a character's point of view. Geoffry must find the real killer before his brother is hung for the crime.

As always, Yerby's story is rich with details, which make this book is very enjoyable to read. I only found the culprit in the last pages. Some readers may guess it right, for there are not many characters in the book (like in any detective novel). The difficulty is to guess how and why.

I have read many detective novels and sometimes can guess the conclusion. Gillian is not that easy. Geoffry Lynne writes this note at the end of chapter 27: "For instance, in the last chapter, Hero gave me a most important clue. I ignored it as female vaporing. A few pages hence, she will give you another. Perhaps you'll prove a better sleuth than I." When I read this, I re-read chapter 27 again, but couldn't find the clue. After I finished the whole book and possessed the knowledge of what happened, I read that chapter again and chapter 29 (in which Geoffry said Hero gave another clue), but still couldn't find any clue.

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