The Mark of Merlin Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Mark of Merlin

James Carlysle "Carla" Murdock refuses to let life get her down. She may have just lost her father in World War II, she may be recovering from a debilitating illness, and she may have slightly misled her new guardian into thinking that she was a boy, but she refuses to leave her beloved dog, Merlin, alone in a cage on the train. So begins the story of The Mark of Merlin, a murder-mystery romance from Anne McCaffrey, best known for the Pern series. When Carla arrives at her destination, she has to explain to the gruff young Major Laird her minor deception and figure out what to do from there. The Major instantly realizes that it is improper for Carla to stay with him, but where else can he take her in the middle of a blizzard? As more guests surprise Carla and Major Laird with their appearances, Carla becomes more and more suspicious about her father's death and eventually realizes that he was murdered. But why? Her father was a highly respected officer and all of his men loved him. Determined to find out, Carla lets nothing stand in her way - not even her growing feelings for the handsome Major Laird...
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I felt that the story itself was fine, a little blah, like I said, but it moved along at a good pace. The part that was the most lackluster for me was the characters themselves. I simply could not identify with any of the characters and found that I didn't particularly like them either, especially Carla. As Carla is the only female in the book and the main character, this didn't make me enjoy the story any more. Carla waffles between being a spoiled brat, a great housekeeper, and a growing young woman. How someone like Major Laird could have fallen in love with her in just a few days is simply beyond me. The story is well written, the little details about World War II provided good background information, many of the secondary characters, particularly the villains, were great, but I would only buy this book if you find it for a very good deal in a used bookstore.

The review of this Book prepared by Debbie

Chapter Analysis of The Mark of Merlin

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Action/suspense subplot?    -   Yes Action:    -   chased by/chasing kidnapper/killer Who:    -   poppa Hidden Identity/Secret Motive    -   Yes Is really...    -   the one who killed loved one If one lover chases another...    -   she chases after him

Main Male Character

Profession/status:    -   infantry soldier

Main Female Character

Age/status:    -   20's-30's Profession/status:    -   student Unusual characteristics:    -   Physically sick    -   Very shy


United States    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment What % of story is romance related?    -   60% Focus of story    -   Her How much dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Anne McCaffrey Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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