"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Good reads

This little spoof on "Downton Abbey" was definitely a hilarious read! Nothing is sacred, from the Dowager Catness to Mr. Matthmew Clowder and the scandalous behaviour of Lady Minxy. Special treats are the "uninvited but necessary words from the Dowager", who has a bonmot for every occasion.
Classic: "I have nothing against stage people. My great-aunt was the string of a cello."
And so it goes. Very funny.

That was just by-the-by, what I really wanted to write about was a couple of new mystery series I've come across recently. Since I've been having regular - and extended - play dates with my Kindle, I've been checking out the amazon offerings. One of the series I am busily reading my way through is John Lawton's 'Frederick Troy' detective series. I saw the author mentioned in a Sunday Australian newspaper, and thought I'd give him a go. Well, I was in for a treat! These are not your fluffy little detective novels, these juicy tomes pack in convoluted plots, an extensive, detailed knowledge of pre- and post-WW2 history, brilliant (and sometimes surgical) portrayals of the British, beautiful language, and a likable, multifaceted hero. Lawton's been criticised for 'too much history' in his novels, but it's what makes the era come alive. These are the sorts of books I never want to end. I do hope Lawton has a few more 'Troys' in store!
The other series I've started to read is the Inspector Gamache one. This amiable detective is a French Canadian who works at the Surete in Quebec. He finds himself drawn to a small village, Three Pines, by a series of murders. (A bit like Midsomer; soon there will be no villagers left to murder!). When I started reading Louise Penny's series, I wasn't so sure if I'd like her style, but now I'm hooked. The characters are interesting and I love reading about all the little Canadian things I encountered on my last trip to eastern Canada. Even Tim Horton's coffee and poutine get a mention! The books run to appx. 360 pages, so long enough to while away an afternoon.
Lastly, I just finished the latest Donna Leon 'Inspector Brunetti' novel. This is another series I can't get enough of. The inspector, a well-read (and well fed) family man, is a Commissario at the Venetian 'Questura', and solves murders with his sidekick Vianello and the mysterious - and slightly criminal - Elettra, always under the beady eye of their boss, Patta. I like how Leon brings Venice and its inhabitants to life, and the Brunetti characters are very believable. I just feel the inspector should have a cat.
If you haven't read these crime series, try them, you might just be entertained for a few hours.

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