Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Marwolaeth heb Ddagrau by Bob Eynon - book review

For me, one of the best ways to boost language learning is to absorb the language through reading books. As a relative beginner, I have a very limited choice of titles in Welsh, even more so than in other languages it seems, because Welsh is so very complicated! I've read a couple, which were about adult Welsh learners and their daily lives - yawn, really not my type of book! Recently, following a recommendation from my tutor and from a fellow student, I decided to start exploring books by Bob Eynon.

Bob lives in Treorci, although I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting him. He writes books aimed specifically at Welsh learners, in a number of genres.

In Marwolaeth heb Ddagrau (death without tears), private detective Ceri Llewelyn is asked to investigate the death of Mrs Adelina Luscombe's son, Nick. Together with his new secretary-sidekick, Debra Craig, Ceri starts asking questions round the small Cotswold village of Stavely, where Nick used to live with his mother before moving to London. The answers he finds raise even more questions and the trail takes them to London.

Was Nick a heroin addict and did he fall downstairs to his death accidentally while under its influence? Was anyone present when he died? Who is the mysterious Arab who accompanied him to Stavely? What did the Hells Angels have to do with the case? Why was Ceri slipped a Mickey Finn in Nick's favourite nightclub?

Eventually, Ceri and Debra are led to a hippy commune in Wales, and then back to Stavely for the final denouement in the best detective mystery tradition.

At approximately 60 pages of fairly large typeface, the book was a comfortable length to tackle given my slow reading speed in Welsh. The storyline kept my interest to the end. Bob Eynon structures the book using a limited vocabulary, which is listed at the back of the book. The list is extremely helpful, but using it does require a basic knowledge of how mutations are used in Welsh. Words and phrases are repeated throughout the book to enable them to sink into the brain. Some typical sentence structures taught in Welsh classes are also used. This is done in a natural way within the story.

Marwolaeth heb Ddagrau offers Welsh learners a pleasurable way in which to consolidate what they have learnt and expand their vocabulary. Available from The  Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.

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