Wed Jun 7th, 2017
Am not working much these days, now we have an influx of summer staff. This is good because my knees remain unhappy, including alas the one so efficiently cortisoned last month. And bad because work gives structure to my day and emotional payoffs. Ah well- what will be will.
Mysteries, mysteries, and not very satisfying.
Deborah Crombie, Necessary as Blood
-- the balance between mystery plot and character development is a fine one, but this went a bit further onto the 'ohh the troubles we have' side than I wanted. This is no.13 of the Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series that I'd only read no.2 of, and all their family entanglements were not, actually, all that rivetting to me.
Christie, Lord Edgware Dies
-- now this is a classic Christie mystery, and it twists as masterfully as any of Christie's more famous ones. But it's also as bloodless as Christie usually is, something I wouldn't have said when I was younger. But in my youth there were only this kind of clever whodunnit, and we hadn't quite got into the kitchen sink school of mystery, so I never noticed the two-dimensionality.
Stephen Booth, Black Dog
-- back to kitchen sink, imperfect heroes, personal problems, and all that jazz. First in the Cooper and Fry series, and if I'd started with this one I probably wouldn't have read the rest of the series.
Ellis Peters, The Will and the Deed
-- an early Peters and I skimmed large chunks of it. I'd have thought it an early work but no, written in middle age and after she'd started the Felse books. Again a classic whodunnit set-up: a bunch of English people stranded in the German (Austrian) mountains with a one of them a killer. Again, twists and turns, but with the limited number of suspects one has a good chance of guessing whodunnit.
The Peters was one of three books I got for a loonie each on Sunday. The seemingly most promising of the lot, which starts with Arthur Conan Doyle and Lloyd George at a seance, turned out to be unreadable. The Peters was barely respectable, so now I have a Michael Innes, speaking of bloodless and two-dimensional Englishmen. But it goes down well enough. They're called 'cozies' for a reason, and at least Innes' Appleby, who is already married, will not be falling in love with a woman he's only known for two days as in the Christie and the Peters.
Only I do so wish for Peter Grant's voice just now, as a corrective.
Maybe I should go for something more substantial and read Eco's Baudino that I started last winter. Maybe I should go for some consolation reading like Night Watch or a Tiffany Aching. Maybe I should reread the last two Aaronovitches because, well, Peter.
I prefer my mysteries bloodless, pretty much. Though one can OD on cosy, too; the neatness starts to seem a bit of a cheat.
I haven't read Lord Edgeware Dies, but I know I will, sooner or later, so I'm dodging spoilers.
I mean, read cozies as a genre akin to social satire and the bloodlessness matters less. Sayers came up against this and struck out in a new direction, and good for her I suppose, but it was still all perfect!Wimsey and so slid into another genre- the romantic- which then came to dominate large sections of the field.