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The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder

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Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham… Jasper is not ordinary. In fact, he would say he is extraordinary… Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder. He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else s Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham… Jasper is not ordinary. In fact, he would say he is extraordinary… Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder. He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. The knife and the screams are all mixed up in his head and he’s scared that he can’t quite remember anything clearly. But where is Bee? Why hasn’t she come home yet? Jasper must uncover the truth about that night – including his own role in what happened…


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Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham… Jasper is not ordinary. In fact, he would say he is extraordinary… Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder. He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else s Whatever happens, don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham… Jasper is not ordinary. In fact, he would say he is extraordinary… Synaesthesia paints the sounds of his world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder. He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no-one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be. The knife and the screams are all mixed up in his head and he’s scared that he can’t quite remember anything clearly. But where is Bee? Why hasn’t she come home yet? Jasper must uncover the truth about that night – including his own role in what happened…

30 review for The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder

  1. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    this book is a kaleidoscope of colours - a story perfected in the subtle hues of humble ocher, right down to the deeply meaningful cobalt blue. the vibrance of this story comes from the rich pigments which surround the characters, particularly jasper. the unique tint of his voice provides such a thought-invoking narrative, one that allows to reader to experience an entirely different perspective. i enjoyed the different shades of life that were experienced on his coming-of-age journey and his gro this book is a kaleidoscope of colours - a story perfected in the subtle hues of humble ocher, right down to the deeply meaningful cobalt blue. the vibrance of this story comes from the rich pigments which surround the characters, particularly jasper. the unique tint of his voice provides such a thought-invoking narrative, one that allows to reader to experience an entirely different perspective. i enjoyed the different shades of life that were experienced on his coming-of-age journey and his growth at understanding the world. and although jasper embodies the primary colours of this story, the secondary colours found in the saturation of the plot and tones of the writing are just as visually captivating. its honestly a surprise that a debut novel can be so striking and brilliant, especially for a story which paints a portrait of a murder. but there is just something so radiant and vivid about this, something that is hard to forget. this story is an explosion of colour on paper and one that has given me a new way of looking at life. ↠ 4.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    Jasper Wishart, 13, sees the world as a kaleidoscope of color. He suffers from synesthesia, causing him to see colors when he hears sounds. Additionally, he has face blindness. His world is filled with anonymous faces that are only recognizable to him by voice, choice of clothing, hats and hair style/hair color. He has his own unique method for interpreting the world around him. Sadly, Jasper's mother who had synesthesia as well and understood Jasper best, has died. His dad is finding it difficu Jasper Wishart, 13, sees the world as a kaleidoscope of color. He suffers from synesthesia, causing him to see colors when he hears sounds. Additionally, he has face blindness. His world is filled with anonymous faces that are only recognizable to him by voice, choice of clothing, hats and hair style/hair color. He has his own unique method for interpreting the world around him. Sadly, Jasper's mother who had synesthesia as well and understood Jasper best, has died. His dad is finding it difficult to address his needs. Jasper is fascinated with parakeets. He is an budding ornithologist. Jasper's neighborhood has become chaotic since Bee Larkham moved back home. Bee, a music teacher living in Australia, has returned to renovate her family home and "unload" it as quickly as possible. The tornado that is Bee Larkham creates stress for nearby neighbors. David Gilbert, named "Cherry Cords" by Jasper, is a retired gamekeeper. He threatens to shoot the large abundance of parakeets visiting Bee's bird feeders. "Smoking Black Duffel Coat Man" can't handle the loud music Bee plays at all hours of the night. Jasper, however, is thrilled to meet Bee. Bee's "color" is sky blue, the closest color to the cobalt blue Jasper has visualized and artistically rendered to represent his mother. Jasper begrudgingly agrees to deliver notes for Bee in exchange for viewing rights from her bedroom window while she gives music lessons. Using his binoculars, Jasper can get a close and unobstructed view of the parakeets in Bee's oak tree. Strange things occur. A music student files charges against Bee. Bee goes missing! There can be terrible colors in the world. Jasper is unsettled by color he cannot understand-the color of murder. "The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder" by Sarah J. Harris is a unique, engrossing mystery. Author Harris has created a tome with many twists and turns, and with great sensitivity, in sharing Jasper Wishart's struggle, within his limited frame of reference, to help unravel the mystery. Kudos to Harris for a superb five star read. Thank you Touchstone and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder".

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    Well, I got up to the 51% mark and I find that I just can't continue. So another book into the DNF file. I should have really liked this book but I found it to be long and so drawn out and the word I hate to use "boring" seems to apply to this one for me. However, I did give it a good shot and perhaps maybe someday I will attempt to finish.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    I'm not sure I was QUITE as enamoured of this one as some people but it was beautifully written and different - the descriptive sense of what it is like to have Synaesthesia was stunning and rather gorgeous - the highlight really, in the imaginative sense. Minus that though it's a nice little mystery story in it's own right and I would have adored it if I had gotten along with Jasper but I'm afraid he annoyed me somewhat from about midway through the book. He is different, thinks differently but I'm not sure I was QUITE as enamoured of this one as some people but it was beautifully written and different - the descriptive sense of what it is like to have Synaesthesia was stunning and rather gorgeous - the highlight really, in the imaginative sense. Minus that though it's a nice little mystery story in it's own right and I would have adored it if I had gotten along with Jasper but I'm afraid he annoyed me somewhat from about midway through the book. He is different, thinks differently but I thought he read rather too young even allowing for his Synaesthesia and the way that makes him see the world differently. Some of his repetitive behaviour was just brought up too much. Even with that though, I loved the idea of it, the concept is fantastic and it is well executed, I imagine that this one will do very well and it deserves too simply for bringing something different to the crime mix. Recommended even with my subjective caveats.

  5. 4 out of 5

    preoccupiedbybooks

    DNF If I read one more thing about bloody parakeets I will seriously stab myself in the eyeball!! I’m sorry I just couldn’t do it anymore! I tried really hard to get into this but I just really disliked it! The synopsis sounded really interesting-Jasper has Synaesthesia where he sees sounds as colours. He also can’t recognise faces and has autism. His neighbour had been murdered and I thought it would be a really exciting, interesting and thrilling read. It wasn’t. It was so difficult reading from DNF If I read one more thing about bloody parakeets I will seriously stab myself in the eyeball!! I’m sorry I just couldn’t do it anymore! I tried really hard to get into this but I just really disliked it! The synopsis sounded really interesting-Jasper has Synaesthesia where he sees sounds as colours. He also can’t recognise faces and has autism. His neighbour had been murdered and I thought it would be a really exciting, interesting and thrilling read. It wasn’t. It was so difficult reading from Jaspers POV!! I know this was written in a certain way as he is different due to his various conditions, but it drive me mad! It was so repetitive. Due to his autism he was really fixated on certain things like the parakeets, which I have absolutely no interest in. I found myself skim reading just to try to get to some actual answers. Jasper didn’t understand or interpret the world the same as other people, so it was incredibly frustrating to read. The time skipping irritated me too. I would be thinking that I would finally be getting some action, i.e the murder of Bee Larkham but then it would skip to another scene. At first the colourful descriptions of how Jasper saw sounds was beautiful and made me curious, but that also became quite repetitive. I just wanted to find out what happened to his neighbour, but eventually I stopped caring about it, so decided to put an end to my misery.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen R

    A super creative mystery by Sarah J. Harris involving an unusual 13-year old boy named Jasper preoccupied with parakeets and born with synesthesia, the superpower of seeing colors when he hears sounds. Jasper also has difficulty recognizing faces. Although a work of fiction, this book opened my eyes to the real phenomenon of synesthesia. Jasper inherited this remarkable gift from his deceased mother who was the only person in his life who saw the world in the same way. He’s bullied at school, his A super creative mystery by Sarah J. Harris involving an unusual 13-year old boy named Jasper preoccupied with parakeets and born with synesthesia, the superpower of seeing colors when he hears sounds. Jasper also has difficulty recognizing faces. Although a work of fiction, this book opened my eyes to the real phenomenon of synesthesia. Jasper inherited this remarkable gift from his deceased mother who was the only person in his life who saw the world in the same way. He’s bullied at school, his father wants him to pretend to see the world like a normal person, “monochrome and muted.” When Jasper’s beautiful neighbor and parakeet keeper Bee Larkham disappears, Jasper sees the ‘color of murder’ and alludes that her death is his fault. His father is there to muddy up the water trying to shield his son from the investigators. Is this simply because Jasper’s behavior is too unpredictable or is there something more sinister? Jasper is bright and quirky. I loved the development of his character, his thought processes, his approach to life and untangling of memories with the connection of colors. A refreshing and good mystery.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    As much as I love a good murder mystery read, I have come to the conclusion that originality is not one of the genre's finest points. But with this, the debut novel by British author Sarah J. Harris we have just that. Trying to even compare this to anything before is a trial with my best thoughts being Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat mixed with The Good Doctor and a murder. 13-year-old Jasper Wishart lives in a world like no other. Diagnosed with Synaesthesia, where we hear sound Jas As much as I love a good murder mystery read, I have come to the conclusion that originality is not one of the genre's finest points. But with this, the debut novel by British author Sarah J. Harris we have just that. Trying to even compare this to anything before is a trial with my best thoughts being Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat mixed with The Good Doctor and a murder. 13-year-old Jasper Wishart lives in a world like no other. Diagnosed with Synaesthesia, where we hear sound Jasper sees colour, and unless a person speaks he is face blind. Even with his former Royal Marine father. Jasper adored his mum who was the only who could truly understand what he went through with his condition as she experienced it too. Now she is gone, Jasper finds his world as a gift and hindrance that sees him made as an outcast at school but due to the colours he hears is able to do the most vivid painting. Along with painting, Jasper loves the colours of the parakeets and is intrigued when a new lady moves into next door. His main attraction being she has the same cobalt blue tones as his mother and loves the birds as much as he does. But it is what he does not know about Bee that sees him come to his own conclusions as the colours become mixed up in his mind. Sure there is the 'martian' music and dancing in the lounge room, but with neighbors complaining about the birds and her own extra curriculum she offers to one of her music students, she is causing a lot of trouble. So when she goes missing the police are very interested in Jasper as someone who observes. He thinks he is responsible and if he can only stick to the script his father told him then maybe everything will be all right. Overall this was an engaging read that had me times laughing and other times riding a wave of emotions. Jasper is a wonderful character and I was pleased to report I did not tire of his colours. Some of his descriptions of other characters were delightful such as 'Dark Blue Baseball Cap Man' and 'Sea-Green Coat Boy'. The mystery element is equally palpable as there is always a doubt as to Jasper and her father's guilt thanks to the confusion of the scattered thoughts and the sheer number of locals upset by bee's actions. Throw this all together and you have yourself an enthralling and unique murder mystery that will stay long in the memory.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    I always appreciate it when an author tries something different to set their novel apart in an immensely crowded marketplace, however, this didn't quite work out for me. It's inevitable that it will be compared to Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, one of the books that got me so heavily involved in reading as well as an all-time favourite of mine, but this isn't as compelling and readable as that. Here our main character, Jasper, a severely autistic teenager who al I always appreciate it when an author tries something different to set their novel apart in an immensely crowded marketplace, however, this didn't quite work out for me. It's inevitable that it will be compared to Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, one of the books that got me so heavily involved in reading as well as an all-time favourite of mine, but this isn't as compelling and readable as that. Here our main character, Jasper, a severely autistic teenager who also suffers from synaesthesia, strongly suspects his neighbour, Bee, has been murdered. However, the combination of face-blindness and synaesthesia make it difficult to glean information from him during police interviews. Synaesthesia is a neurological condition where the senses join or merge meaning that, in this case, Jasper's brain automatically assigns a colour to anything that may stimulate one or more of his senses. I really like that the author has used this to weave an original yarn but, if I'm honest, there was a little too much focus on the condition that it at times disrupted the narrative flow and got quite tedious. I feel that the author has carried out a decent amount of research as everything was explained, but as I have no experience with the condition it's difficult to say whether her portrayal of synaesthesia was accurate or not. Kudos for raising awareness of these conditions, but at times it felt as though the balance between fact and fiction was a little off making it feel more like non-fiction and unfortunately one of those deflating times when the concept is sound but the execution poor. Many thanks to The Borough Press for an ARC.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mairead Hearne (swirlandthread.com)

    ‘Don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham…’ The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is described as ‘a touching coming-of-age story and an intriguing mystery, a poignant and unforgettable read—perfect for fans of bestselling authors such as Mark Haddon and Graeme Simsion.’ On reading through it’s pages I was immediately reminded of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as the similarities between fifteen year old Christopher and thirteen year old Jasper were there from the beginnin ‘Don’t tell anyone what you did to Bee Larkham…’ The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is described as ‘a touching coming-of-age story and an intriguing mystery, a poignant and unforgettable read—perfect for fans of bestselling authors such as Mark Haddon and Graeme Simsion.’ On reading through it’s pages I was immediately reminded of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as the similarities between fifteen year old Christopher and thirteen year old Jasper were there from the beginning. The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder takes the reader on a journey into the mind of thirteen year old Jasper, a young boy with Synaesthesia and Face-Blindness (Prosopagnosia), both conditions I was completely unaware of until I started reading this book. Sarah J Harris tackles a subject that she first came across over nine years ago when working as an educational journalist and she happened upon a study into the ‘prevalence in childhood of a condition that causes the merging of the senses.’ In layman’s terms, it is where a person experiences two or more senses combined, for example tasting words and associating colour with sound. What a fascinating concept, don’t you think? Sarah wanted to put her thoughts into words by writing a novel which highlighted the joy of living in a world where everything was experienced through splashes of colour, while at the same time being a dangerous place never knowing who to trust. Jasper Wishart has Synaesthesia and Prosopagnosia. Following the very traumatic loss of his mother from cancer at a very young age, Jasper’s Dad changes his career to spend more time with Jasper, to be there for him. They move house to an area that holds fewer painful memories of the happy life they had before, but for Jasper, his life will never be the same. His mother was the one person who understood his condition, the one person who had total acceptance of his peculiarities and his need for certain order in his life. One day, following the arrival of a new neighbour, life suddenly changes for Jasper. Bee Larkham is fun, she dances wildly to her music that she plays very loudly every day and night and she loves birds, parakeets in particular. With multiple feeders in her garden, Jasper is thrilled to see the arrival of lots of parakeets with their vivid colours and cacophony of sounds. Jasper becomes slightly obsessed with Bee Larkham, associating many of her quirky traits with that of his mother, but also because Bee, like his mother, seems to understand him. But for Jasper, his fragile world of colour comes tumbling down when Bee Larkham disappears. Jasper paints pictures where others would write down their thoughts. Jasper’s painting are like his diary but only Jasper can decipher his own thoughts. When the police come calling, Jasper is identified as a key witness in Bee Larkham’s disappearance but it soon becomes clear to all involved that this case involves a lot more than that of one missing person. Sarah J Harris captures Jasper’s frustrations and anxieties with such heart-wrenching clarity. Jasper knows deep down that he has the answer but he is just incapable of getting his thoughts in order. Jasper’s father is questioned about Bee’s disappearance, as are many others, including Jasper, but it is Jasper alone who holds the key. His thoughts are all jumbled as he searches through his paintings looking for answers…..until eventually the truth does manifest itself. Jasper is a very special boy and The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is a very special story. It will not necessarily appeal to all, due to the nature of the topics covered, but I guarantee, those that do read it, will close the covers with a feeling of been educated somehow and of been allowed, however briefly, into this incredible world of colour. The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is a fascinating tale, encouraging us all to be more tolerant of folk who we may consider different in our society today. As a species we can be very cruel and dismissive of folk who we see as peculiar. Sarah J Harris highlights this with a simplicity and with a great story, but also, and most importantly, leaving us all with a little better understanding of the world that we now live in. Poignant. Touching. Eloquent. Inspiring.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is a charming, unique story about Jasper, a boy with synesthesia - so he can can 'see' colours from sounds. It's not a condition that I have any prior knowledge of so this made for interesting reading. Jasper is a frustrating character in many ways, especially as the novel is narrated by him throughout - there are many points where you know you're not getting the full picture but it's just because Jasper doesn't understand himself. You want to reach into the novel and ask the 'grown ups' wha This is a charming, unique story about Jasper, a boy with synesthesia - so he can can 'see' colours from sounds. It's not a condition that I have any prior knowledge of so this made for interesting reading. Jasper is a frustrating character in many ways, especially as the novel is narrated by him throughout - there are many points where you know you're not getting the full picture but it's just because Jasper doesn't understand himself. You want to reach into the novel and ask the 'grown ups' what's really happened, because they see things not necessarily in a more 'truthful' way, but in a way that most of us, as readers, can better understand. I love the crime element to the novel - that kept me reading on when I might have got a little bored otherwise. I did really enjoy the story, but I felt it was a little long at some points. Wanting to find out what had really happened to Bee Larkham, and how they'd all got to the point they were at, was what kept me interested. Most other reviews have raved about this book and, though I did enjoy it, I wasn't blown away - however I can really appreciate the amazing writing of Sarah J Harris; it's a beautifully written novel and definitely a unique premise too.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I won this copy in a Goodreads giveaway. The idea of the protagonist as a young boy with synaesthesia and also prosopagnosia (face-blindness) was interesting, but for me it didn't work. The mentioning of the colours he sees constantly was just too much and I found it annoying and boring. The first person narration means that you don't see the story from any other character's perspective and so I didn't really care about any of them. I only read to the end because I was curious about the plot but I I won this copy in a Goodreads giveaway. The idea of the protagonist as a young boy with synaesthesia and also prosopagnosia (face-blindness) was interesting, but for me it didn't work. The mentioning of the colours he sees constantly was just too much and I found it annoying and boring. The first person narration means that you don't see the story from any other character's perspective and so I didn't really care about any of them. I only read to the end because I was curious about the plot but I skim read from about half way. I wished it was shorter!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie Parks

    This was such a fulfilling and authentic read. I can't even imagine how much research, attention to detail and effort it must have taken Sarah J. Harris to write it. It is both a literary and plot masterpiece. I am looking forward to her next story. Thank you, Harper Collins, and, The Borough Press, for the chance to read this wonderful book in exchange for my honest review. This was such a fulfilling and authentic read. I can't even imagine how much research, attention to detail and effort it must have taken Sarah J. Harris to write it. It is both a literary and plot masterpiece. I am looking forward to her next story. Thank you, Harper Collins, and, The Borough Press, for the chance to read this wonderful book in exchange for my honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    Jasper has Synaesthesia, which means he sees sounds as colours. He has no facial recognition of people and needs clues like the same clothing, or familiar words to help him recognise people. As his mother also has Synaesthesia she understood him more than his father does. Jasper Wishart lives with his father after the death of his mother some years earlier. Jasper is also autistic and does not interpret situations or comments correctly. Jasper loves parakeets and loves watching through his binoc Jasper has Synaesthesia, which means he sees sounds as colours. He has no facial recognition of people and needs clues like the same clothing, or familiar words to help him recognise people. As his mother also has Synaesthesia she understood him more than his father does. Jasper Wishart lives with his father after the death of his mother some years earlier. Jasper is also autistic and does not interpret situations or comments correctly. Jasper loves parakeets and loves watching through his binoculars the parakeets that have settled in a tree since the new neighbour, Bee Larkham, moved in next door. Not everyone in the neighbourhood is happy with the new neighbour, her loud music or the arrival of the birds. Then Bee goes missing. Jasper is convinced she is dead. But some of his recollections of Bee and things that happened are jumbled, the colours in his mind muddled and unclear. He tries to paint his way out of confusion to the truth. But can he uncover what really happened? And will the police listen? This is a fascinating story as it takes the reader inside the mind of this 13 year old boy. The story is filled with colour, lots of details about parakeets and plenty of misunderstandings. I was intrigued by this novel, although at times Jasper’s repetition of certain things, does get a little wearing. However it is essential to his character. I found this way of telling the story a clever idea which, for the most part, works extremely well. Along the way I learnt a lot about Synaesthesia and autism as well as enjoying the unfolding of what really happened to Bee and why. If you looking for a mystery that is a little bit different you might well enjoy it as much as I did. It does give a rather unique perspective.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book enthralled me with its vivid description of swirling colours, and the muddled thoughts of a 13-year-old boy. It is also a compelling mystery where the clues are fragmented for the reader as Jasper tries to sort out what happened surrounding a killing. Jasper has synesthesia, a condition inherited from his dead mother. In his case, he perceives sounds along with colours, each sound producing its own shade and intensity. He produces dazzling paintings, based on the sounds of brightly co This book enthralled me with its vivid description of swirling colours, and the muddled thoughts of a 13-year-old boy. It is also a compelling mystery where the clues are fragmented for the reader as Jasper tries to sort out what happened surrounding a killing. Jasper has synesthesia, a condition inherited from his dead mother. In his case, he perceives sounds along with colours, each sound producing its own shade and intensity. He produces dazzling paintings, based on the sounds of brightly coloured parakeets he observes from a window and his perception of the colours he associates with various voices. These colours mostly fill him with joy until he encounters disturbing colours associated with a murder. He also is face blind (prosopagnosia), defined as the inability to recognize familiar faces, even one's own. Other aspects of visual processing remain intact. Jasper identifies people by the colours of their voices, hairstyle, and clothing. Jasper also shows some autistic behaviours such as the inability to discern nuances in language, and obsessive and repetitive behaviour. Many characters who encounter him in the story find his behaviour annoying. I confess I was becoming irritated by his set routines and repetition, as did most of his neighbours, authority figures, and classmates. As I continued the story I became charmed by the young boy and the kaleidoscope of colours surrounding him. He misses his mother whom he associates with cobalt blue. When Bee Latham moves next door, he wants to befriend her. He is attracted to her because her voice surrounds her with a sky blue colour, reminding him of his mother. Bee’s presence in the neighbourhood stirs up hostility due to her attracting parakeets with their noisy chirping to her yard by feeding them. She also causes a disturbance by playing music loudly at night. Bee and Jasper become friends, but he is uncomfortable with her demands to deliver notes to an older boy in school, one of her music students. He is unhappy with this assignment due to his inability to recognize the boy among other classmates. He must do this or she will refuse him a view of the parakeets. The music student’s father is very hostile towards Bee. A neighbour, David Gilbert, has threatened to shoot all Jasper’s beloved birds and frequently and angrily confronts Bee about the noise. One night Bee disappears and Jasper sees a colour which is new and disturbing, the colour of murder. He believes he may have killed Bee during a struggle with a knife. He has fragmented memories of a struggle and seeing blood. He believes his father hid the body and cleaned up the murder scene to protect him. Jasper returned home that evening with a painful cut in his abdomen and blood on his clothes. Jasper makes a frustrating effort to confess his perceived guilt to the police. He tries to use his paintings to illustrate what bits he remembers from the night of the murder. He also has a creeping suspicion that his father may be more involved. There are a number of suspects who may have caused Bee’s death. I was just as puzzled as Jasper about the events leading up to the murder. I thought this a poignant and compelling mystery but will not appeal to all readers. Others may find it an enjoyable and enlightening read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder is an original and fascinating murder mystery. The narrator is 13 year old Jasper. The story is set in the UK. Jasper is an intriguing and unusual narrator. First off he is only 13 years old. Usually that would mean that this was a Young Adult novel. However, the book does not feel like YA and it's not marketed that way. Jasper has a bunch of things that make him very different. First he has synesthesia a condition that lets him see colors when he hears sounds. He The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder is an original and fascinating murder mystery. The narrator is 13 year old Jasper. The story is set in the UK. Jasper is an intriguing and unusual narrator. First off he is only 13 years old. Usually that would mean that this was a Young Adult novel. However, the book does not feel like YA and it's not marketed that way. Jasper has a bunch of things that make him very different. First he has synesthesia a condition that lets him see colors when he hears sounds. He also suffers from face blindness, which means that he can't tell people's faces apart. And he seemed to be autistic (his dad was reading a book about dealing with autistic children). The main story has to do with a new neighbor, Bee Larkham, who has moved across the street from Jasper and his dad. Bee is in her early twenties and has recently returned to her childhood home after her mom died. She has a tree filled with parakeets. And Jasper is completely obsessed with these birds. Even though Jasper was 13 he read as someone much younger. His autism and other abilities added to this. He often did not understand what was happening around him. And he took everything literally. The mystery aspect was enjoyable. Although I definitely preferred the last part of the book. There was a back and forth in time. The story was mostly set in the present. But then we also got to see from the time when Jasper first met Bee. At first I could not decide how much I liked this book. The way Jasper sees colors for everything is described a lot. It definitely made the story completely unique. However at times it was a bit trying. The last part of the book was the strongest. I was completely riveted. I was fascinated by by Jasper's inability to recognize faces. Especially how it impacted the story. Overall, this was such a different mystery. Thanks to netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to read this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    I’ve long been fascinated by synesthesia, a condition where the brains perceptions of sensory input are blended. Synesthetes may taste sounds, smell colors or see scents. In The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder, thirteen year old Jasper Wishart hears sounds as colours. “Lawn mower: shiny silver; Car revving: orange; Aeroplane: light, almost see-through green; Radio: pink….; Dogs barking: yellow or red; Cats meowing: soft violet blue; Dad laughing: a muddy, yellowish brown; Kettle boiling: silver and I’ve long been fascinated by synesthesia, a condition where the brains perceptions of sensory input are blended. Synesthetes may taste sounds, smell colors or see scents. In The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder, thirteen year old Jasper Wishart hears sounds as colours. “Lawn mower: shiny silver; Car revving: orange; Aeroplane: light, almost see-through green; Radio: pink….; Dogs barking: yellow or red; Cats meowing: soft violet blue; Dad laughing: a muddy, yellowish brown; Kettle boiling: silver and yellow bubbles” Unusually, Jasper also suffers from prosopagnosia, known as face blindness, and is probably also somewhere on the autism spectrum, given his literal manner and self soothing behaviours. His father doesn’t understand, and is perpetually frustrated by his son’s ‘weird’ ways. When Bee Larkham moves into the Wishart’s Street, Jasper is enchanted by the colour of her voice-sky blue, the explosions of colour from the music she plays loudly in her living room, and most particularly, the flock of parakeets that takes up residence in her garden. However not everyone is happy with the disruption Bee causes in the neighbourhood. “Bee Larkham’s murder was ice blue crystals with glittery edges and jagged silver icicles.” The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is essentially a murder mystery, the story of which unfolds through Jasper’s unique perspective. It is not a straightforward narrative, skewed by Jasper’s limited, and sometimes unreliable view, partially reconstructed by his ornithological log, and the paintings he creates to help him order events. I did feel the pace dragged sometimes but I was engrossed by Jasper’s distinctive voice. A colourful and Interesting novel, Harris paints a vivid picture of an exceptional boy caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Janson

    Thank you so much to Touchstone Books for providing my free copy of THE COLOR OF BEE LARKHAM’S MURDER by Sarah J. Harris - all opinions are my own. I love a good character-driven story and this one checks all the boxes! Thirteen-year-old Jasper Wishart has synesthesia, which means he sees colors when hearing sounds. Also, he has face blindness or prosopagnosia, so basically he cannot recognize familiar faces, just voices and clothing. It’s an exceptional way to view the world - a dazzling display Thank you so much to Touchstone Books for providing my free copy of THE COLOR OF BEE LARKHAM’S MURDER by Sarah J. Harris - all opinions are my own. I love a good character-driven story and this one checks all the boxes! Thirteen-year-old Jasper Wishart has synesthesia, which means he sees colors when hearing sounds. Also, he has face blindness or prosopagnosia, so basically he cannot recognize familiar faces, just voices and clothing. It’s an exceptional way to view the world - a dazzling display of color. Unfortunately, his father is struggling to care for him since his mother passed away, as she was the one person who understood him because she also had synesthesia. His vivacious, colorful neighbor, Bee Larkham, who loves birds and keeps parakeets, moves in and Jasper is fascinated. But Bee goes missing and Jasper thinks he sees the color of murder. The entire story is told by Jasper in first person narrative. It was so interesting to see the world through his eyes and how he reconstructs memories. For some reason my eyes got wider when I read about all of the different connections to colors. The thoughtful details are what make this such an imaginative and creative read. I love the distinct color markers at the head of each chapter and how Jasper perceives things quite literally. I was side-by-side with Jasper through his fears and frustrations which is a testament to great writing. The language is descriptive and beautiful and oh yes, there is a carefully constructed mystery to be solved. What happened to Bee Larkham? Was it something sinister?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader)

    COLOR ME INTRIGUED. See what I did there?

  19. 5 out of 5

    ~Sofia~

    This is the first book of my two experimentals that I am trying, two books that I normally would not go for. Well, this one paid off immensely! This is the tale of an autistic boy named Jasper who you will grow to love and cherish as a character. He has a condition called synesthesia which I had no knowledge of before starting this book. It is fascinating, it basically means that Jasper sees and hears everything in colour, which also means when you witness a murder, the murderer becomes a colour This is the first book of my two experimentals that I am trying, two books that I normally would not go for. Well, this one paid off immensely! This is the tale of an autistic boy named Jasper who you will grow to love and cherish as a character. He has a condition called synesthesia which I had no knowledge of before starting this book. It is fascinating, it basically means that Jasper sees and hears everything in colour, which also means when you witness a murder, the murderer becomes a colour not a person making it very hard to tell others who this person is. In this wonderfully written book you follow Jasper as he tries to come to terms with the murder of his neighbour Bee Larkham. It is a detective tale like no other and I found it a spectacular read. It is laugh out loud funny and so creative with all the colours that will float around your head as you read it. To begin with I did find it rather difficult to get my head around the writing, that being everything being described in colour, but once you really understand the way of writing is when you understand Jasper and understand Jasper is the wonderful key to everything. Truly an amazing read, do try it, you will be pleasantly surprised like I was.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Latkins

    This novel, narrated by 13-year-old Jasper, is an original murder mystery. It will inevitably be compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, as, like Christopher in that novel, Jasper has an unusual way of perceiving the world. It's never explicitly stated that he'd autistic, but his dad is described reading a book for parents of children with autism and learning difficulties. Jasper has synaesthesia, which means that he sees sounds as vivid colours. He also has prosopagnosia, This novel, narrated by 13-year-old Jasper, is an original murder mystery. It will inevitably be compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, as, like Christopher in that novel, Jasper has an unusual way of perceiving the world. It's never explicitly stated that he'd autistic, but his dad is described reading a book for parents of children with autism and learning difficulties. Jasper has synaesthesia, which means that he sees sounds as vivid colours. He also has prosopagnosia, which means that he can't recognise people's faces. Therefore, he has to use clothes, hair and voices to recognise people - but if they whisper, their voices change colour and he has difficulty knowing who they are; likewise if they change their clothes or hairstyle this also throws him. He also finds it hard to understand metaphors and sarcasm, and takes what people say literally; and he becomes fixated with certain topics and upset if his routines are broken. But this is not a book for children, as it has quite graphic content. The novel is told in two timelines, the present, it which Jasper remembers murdering his neighbour, the music teacher Bee Larkham, but cannot remember the details. He also looks back at the time leading up to this, when Bee moved into the neighbourhood and began to cause chaos on his road with her loud music and irrepressible personality. Living only with his dad Ed, as his mother (who also had synaesthesia) died many years before, Jasper becomes friends with Bee, and obsessed with the parakeets that nest in her garden. But Bee is more interested in using him as a messenger between herself and another boy at his school, Lucas, who is one of her pupils. This is a very gripping story, and Jasper's narration draws you in, as you realise how he often misunderstands situations and people's actions and words. The underlying murder mystery unfolds gradually and surprisingly. As with many mystery novels, there's a fair bit of unlikely coincidence going on, but that doesn't detract from the pull of the story and the brilliantly realised character of Jasper.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    I totally LOVED this book and felt sad on finishing it last week. I bought The Colour Of Bee Larkham’s Murder after seeing the large number of rave blogger reviews last year and listened to it on Audible (by the way, an excellent solo performance by narrator Huw Parmenter). The story is told from the pov of a isolated, parakeet-loving 13 year old boy, Jasper with face blindness and synaethesia (he sees colours when he hears things and associates colours with words and numbers) who tries to make I totally LOVED this book and felt sad on finishing it last week. I bought The Colour Of Bee Larkham’s Murder after seeing the large number of rave blogger reviews last year and listened to it on Audible (by the way, an excellent solo performance by narrator Huw Parmenter). The story is told from the pov of a isolated, parakeet-loving 13 year old boy, Jasper with face blindness and synaethesia (he sees colours when he hears things and associates colours with words and numbers) who tries to make sense of the world through his paintings. Jasper’s mother has died of cancer and this has left a huge gap Jasper’s life; at the start of the novel he and his father are struggling to get back to some kind of ‘normality’, and have moved from the south of England to the parakeet paradise of south west London (near Richmond Park). Jasper's voice is compelling and the story is riveting, tenderly told and rich with imaginative detail. I loved how people and actions are described via the ‘colour’ of their sounds – eg a dog is ‘Yellow French Fries’, the dour detective questioning Jasper is ‘Rusty Chrome Orange’. In Jasper’s words: ‘I can’t tell people’s faces apart but I see the colour of sounds and that is so much better.’ Jasper tells the story of the strange goings on in Vincent Gardens after the arrival of Bee (not Bea) Larkham, a free-spirited enigma of a young woman, along with a small colony of parakeets which nest in her front garden tree. Both woman and birds disrupt the lives of several residents, especially Jasper’s. He is immediately attracted to the colour of her voice, sky blue, which is close to the cobolt blue that his mother’s voice had. There are two timelines, one starting with her arrival, and the other shortly after her death when Jasper - ‘I can’t stop seeing the colour of murder’ - starts to be questioned by Rusty Chrome Orange. This is a delicious variation on a murder mystery, but it is far more than that. It’s also a coming of age novel that explores the relationship between father and ‘differently abled’ son, the relationships that develops between Jasper and Bee Larkham, and between Jasper and other neighbours. Through much of TCOBLM the reader is kept guessing about who caused the demise of Bee Larkham, and for what purpose – we see everything through Jasper’s eyes and along with Jasper we try to piece together the clues. As the plot twists towards its dramatic denouement, the story becomes more and more unsettling and compelling – a definite 5 stars for the most original book I’ve read in a very long time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vignesh Kumar

    I picked this book solely for the blurb. It sounded unique and different. Jasper Wishart is a 13-year old boy who has synaesthesia, which means he can see colors for sounds and face-blindness. That is totally unique. I've never heard of that syndrome ever. The writing is totally unique too as the narrator is Jasper. The way he sees colors for sounds is very detailed and unique, like Dark Blue Baseball Cap Man and French Fries Yellow Dog. But it gets repetitive as the story progresses. As for the I picked this book solely for the blurb. It sounded unique and different. Jasper Wishart is a 13-year old boy who has synaesthesia, which means he can see colors for sounds and face-blindness. That is totally unique. I've never heard of that syndrome ever. The writing is totally unique too as the narrator is Jasper. The way he sees colors for sounds is very detailed and unique, like Dark Blue Baseball Cap Man and French Fries Yellow Dog. But it gets repetitive as the story progresses. As for the characters, Jasper is very smart and a brilliant, budding ornithologist. He has an abundance of unusual love for the parakeets which reside in the very big oak tree in his neighbor, Bee Larkham's house. The way he narrated the love for parakeets is so much for me that it annoyed me. Sometimes, his actions annoyed me. I know he has autism and the two syndromes, but still, he kinda annoyed me. The thriller aspect of the story is good. I finished this book to see how Bee died and who murdered her. On the whole, this was a unique read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ruthy lavin

    Oh boy oh boy! This was a great read! Riveting, compassionate, empathetic and real - if you enjoyed The curious tale of the dog in the nighttime then you will love this!! Wonderful feel good stuff - easy 4 stars 🌟

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rukky

    I have finally finished this book. After FIVE months. It wasn't bad, pretty interesting, I just kept forgetting to read it. And I guess it wasn't too interesting since I put it down several times and only read the majority of it in one go last week or so. Idk, I honestly don't have much to say

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A really fantastic, well researched novel. So unique and interesting, it kept me guessing until the end. Would recommend for fans of The Curious Incident.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maxine

    Thirteen-year-old Jasper Wishart is on the autism spectrum, and has synesthesia - what other people hear, he sees in colour. He also cannot see faces and is only able to recognize people by the colour of their voices. When a neighbour dies and her estranged daughter, Bee Larkham, arrives to settle the estate, she feeds the parakeets that have settled in the trees by her house ensuring that they stay. Jasper loves watching the parakeets, the colours of their feathers but especially of their songs Thirteen-year-old Jasper Wishart is on the autism spectrum, and has synesthesia - what other people hear, he sees in colour. He also cannot see faces and is only able to recognize people by the colour of their voices. When a neighbour dies and her estranged daughter, Bee Larkham, arrives to settle the estate, she feeds the parakeets that have settled in the trees by her house ensuring that they stay. Jasper loves watching the parakeets, the colours of their feathers but especially of their songs and he spends much of his time watching them and the neighbourhood out his window. He also loves the colours of the music that Bee plays loudly. Unfortunately, not everybody in the neighbourhood shares his appreciation of what, to them, is just constant noise. Jasper also keeps detailed notebooks of everything. At first, Jasper wants to befriend Bee because of the parakeets and because of the colour of her voice. But their relationship is not what he had first believed and eventually they have a falling out. Then Bee disappears. It took me a while to get into The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder by Sarah J. Harris. It seemed slow and, when I put it down, I had trouble picking it up again and eventually gave up altogether and moved on to other books. However, after reading a whole lot of positive reviews by people I trust, I decided to give it another go and I am so glad I did. This time I became fully immersed in the story. I was tied to the pages trying to guess what really happened to Bee and what role Jasper played in it. The story is told by Jasper and he a very unreliable narrator for many reasons - his condition, his faulty memory, his inability to decipher speech idiosyncrasies like metaphors or common cliches or to recognize people unless they speak, as well as his father's constant admonitions to keep what happened a secret. As a result, he tends to wind back and forth through the story, giving us only little snippets of what really happened revealing only enough at a time to keep the reader guessing and trying to piece it all together. This book may be about a boy who sees vibrant colours all around him but this is a very dark story. However, at least for me, once you get into it, it is a very well-written and compelling one. Thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This has been a unique and intriguing read l. I’ve never heard of synaesthesia before , a person sees words in colour . I’m this book the main character has this condition but Also facial blindness , to the point that he cannot always recognise his own father . This is a murder story told from this characters point of view. This is a totally different way of writing a murder story that is fresh and very hard to repeat I’m sure . There are only a handful of characters in this story but they all h This has been a unique and intriguing read l. I’ve never heard of synaesthesia before , a person sees words in colour . I’m this book the main character has this condition but Also facial blindness , to the point that he cannot always recognise his own father . This is a murder story told from this characters point of view. This is a totally different way of writing a murder story that is fresh and very hard to repeat I’m sure . There are only a handful of characters in this story but they all have a perfect placement in the plot by the author that adds so much to the book!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sid Nuncius

    I’m afraid I didn’t think that The Colour Of Bee Larkham’s Murder was all that good. I feel churlish saying it because it’s written with good intentions, but it just didn’t work for me. The book is narrated by Jasper, a 13-year-old who has autism and synesthesia, so that he cannot recognise faces and experiences sounds and some other senses as colours. He has a very patchy memory and is convinced that he killed his neighbour, the eponymous Bee Larkham. The plot, which moves extremely slowly, is t I’m afraid I didn’t think that The Colour Of Bee Larkham’s Murder was all that good. I feel churlish saying it because it’s written with good intentions, but it just didn’t work for me. The book is narrated by Jasper, a 13-year-old who has autism and synesthesia, so that he cannot recognise faces and experiences sounds and some other senses as colours. He has a very patchy memory and is convinced that he killed his neighbour, the eponymous Bee Larkham. The plot, which moves extremely slowly, is the emergence of the events leading up to Bee’s possible murder (we don’t know the truth for a long time) intercut with Jasper’s day-to-day perception of the events in his life. Plenty of people have loved the book, and fair enough. It’s certainly not exploitative, it’s an original viewpoint and it is well-intentioned – although I did feel that there was some over-sentimental emotional manipulation at times. The main problem for me, though, is that Jasper’s voice just didn’t ring true as that of a 13-year-old. Just as an example, at one point he says, “...I walked into his bedroom. He put his real book behind the cover of Lee Child’s. Understanding Your Child’s Autism And Other Learning Difficulties. I expect he’s studying it right now. Trying to get a grip on why I’m difficult. Why I’m different from other teenage boys. Why I’m so hard to love.” The use of paragraphs especially is a technique of an adult author trying to make a punchy point and to me it really isn’t the voice of a bemused young teenager. I found this throughout the book and that, combined with a rather stodgily paced story prevented me from becoming involved. There have been some superb books written from the point of view of narrators with various mental health problems – Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident..., of course, and Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall, Holly Bourne’s Am I Normal Yet?, Gavin Extence’s The Mirror World Of Melody Black and others spring to mind. This isn’t in their league, I’m afraid, and I can only give it a very qualified recommendation. (My thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC via NetGalley.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carole

    I was incredibly lucky to receive an ARC of this book. Just looking at the cover made me want to read it, but once I started I could not stop. Thirteen year old Jasper Wishart can't distinguish people's faces, but he can see their voices in color. Some are bright blue, others mustard yellow. Some are pleasing colors and others disturbing. The colors are how he identifies the people in his life. He keeps his own counsel and watches everything on his street. He keeps written records, but mostly he I was incredibly lucky to receive an ARC of this book. Just looking at the cover made me want to read it, but once I started I could not stop. Thirteen year old Jasper Wishart can't distinguish people's faces, but he can see their voices in color. Some are bright blue, others mustard yellow. Some are pleasing colors and others disturbing. The colors are how he identifies the people in his life. He keeps his own counsel and watches everything on his street. He keeps written records, but mostly he paints his story. When a new neighbor moves in next door, the balance of his life changes. Things no longer follow the same pattern. He has found a new color. The color of murder. This is one of the best books I have read in too long a time. Everything about it is perfect. The writing flows, the descriptions are beautiful. It is fascinating to see the world through Jasper's eyes. While it is a pretty good mystery, it is also a wonderful coming of age story, not just for Jasper, but in a sense for his father and neighbors too. So was there a murder and if there was, who is the killer? Is it all in Jasper's head? Will anyone listen to him? Or is his life in danger? Want to know? READ THE BOOK!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy Morgan

    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. 13 year old Jasper sees the world a little differently than the rest of us. A severely autistic child with both synesthesia and face blindness Jasper has a hard time just existing some days. The only person who really understood him was his mother who passed away when he was a small boy. Jasper’s father is left alone to raise him and being a former military man who was not always around when Jasper was young , does not always understand or kno Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. 13 year old Jasper sees the world a little differently than the rest of us. A severely autistic child with both synesthesia and face blindness Jasper has a hard time just existing some days. The only person who really understood him was his mother who passed away when he was a small boy. Jasper’s father is left alone to raise him and being a former military man who was not always around when Jasper was young , does not always understand or know how to connect with his son. One day a new neighbor moves in and Jasper feels a connection with her as her voice is the closest color to his mother’s that he has ever found. Bee Larkham and Jasper develop an odd sort of friendship and Jasper is devastated when Bee is murdered. Convinced he is the guilty party Jasper tries to uncover what happened in he night Bee died. I loved this book and Jasper’s character. It was unique and interesting and definitely creates a lot of emotion as you are reading!

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