Saturday, July 01, 2006

Caroline Graham: The Killings at Badger's Drift

I've sort of neglected reading Caroline Graham, which is a bit of a shame, since she is very funny in an understated way. (I blame all deficiencies in my reading on the library's selection and availability of literature though!) The cover of TKABD has a quote from the Yorkshire Post:
Probably the most underrated British crime writer. Her talent is rare, combining wit, pathos and an entertaining narrative.

Very true. I offer you this quote as an example:
Troy re-entered the room, giving Barnaby what he fondly imagined to be an imperceptible shake of the head.

Barnaby is Head Cop, Troy his cocky sidekick. The descriptions of Troy's desire to appear cool and competent, like something out of a film, are all first-rate.

This is Graham's first novel. I had previously read one of her later ones (the latest one, perhaps?), The Ghost In The Machine. In that book the sarcasm and cynicism was twisted another notch, slightly OTT as I remember it. TKABD is a good blend of the cynical and the emotional. Graham's Barnaby novels have been televised as The Midsomer Murders. The TV series is an very bleak and shallow version of the novels. It's usually aired on Swedish telly every summer, and this summer is no exception. I tend to watch because there's nothing else on, but I'm not a fan. It's bland, boring and simply unfunny.

Plotline: an old woman witnesses a couple having sex in the forest, and is later found dead. Her friend insists that it can't be of natural causes. Barnaby starts investigating, and discovers that she's been poisoned by hemlock (ha, just like in my recently read Poison in Athens).He discovers blackmailers, child abuse, adultery and incest.

It's a good read, and I recommend it. Plus - it's dedicated to Christianna Brand "with grateful thanks for all her help and encouragment". Now that's cool. Christianna Brand is a classic crime fiction name, and it seems as though she's almost forgotten nowadays (much as Josephine Tey appears to be). But Green for Danger is still a marvellous detective story.


HB said...

Hei!Liker den nye greia di med "Authors I've written about (do a blog search!)". Strålende! Og praktisk:-)

bani said...

Tackar! Jag är väl nettopp ett geni. ;-)