Sunday, 1 July 2012

Hello there!  I'm at my friend's house looking after her dog today.  While he's having a well deserved nap, I'm watching an old episode of Morse - it's got raspy-voiced Roberta Taylor that I remember from Eastenders about 10 years ago when I used to watch it.  She's playing Sheila Williams, the mistress of Theodore Kemp a randy, womanising archeologist played by Simon Callow.

are you looking at me crazy lady?

Also, I've been listening to The Alington Inheritance by Patricia Wentworth.  I put it back on reluctantly as the first book of hers that I bought was a bit of a wash-out.  That was The Danger Point, also starring Miss Maud Silver.  I had been expecting a crime thriller, but really it was nothing of the sort.

Yes, there's a murder in it.  Yes, there are a range of characters that could have perpetrated the crime - let's call them 'suspects'.  But the thing is, there's no need for suspicion at all.  It's blinking obvious who the culprit is!  In both of the books!  So the most important, enthralling and interesting element is missing - DETECTION.

Now I realise that this makes it sound a bit like Columbo.  But in that classic tv series even though we know all along 'who dunnit', at least we see the perpetrator trying to cover up their crime.  Which gives Columbo something to unravel and solve.  That cat and mouse game is exactly what provides interest, you're able to see how clever each of the protagonists are in their respective roles.

Just one more thing...

Both The Alington Inheritance and The Danger Point fail to deliver as detective novels.  There's no working out of who did the crime, not by Miss Maud Silver or anyone else.  There's also no sense that you're watching the mystery being unravelled by reasoning, questioning and intuition.  No, you simply get statements of fact from various characters (repeated two or three times, I might add) and usually covering aspects of the story that have already been described.  Pointless!

nice book cover, shame about the story

At the heart of both Patricia Wentworth novels I've listened to so far is a love story.  Indeed, I seriously think they should be re-categorised as romance instead of crime fiction.  They're a little naive and remind me of damsel in distress / knight on a white steed children's stories, but they're quite endearing because of that.

All in all I don't think I'll be in a massive rush to get another of the author's books.  Which is a real shame as there seem to be loads of them available!  Oh well!