Tuesday, 7 January 2014

An Expert in Murder

Image sourced from here
Tell you what. Been definitely getting my murder mystery fix lately. I bought this on a whim. I needed an "X" book quickly. I couldn't find one anywhere, and then ended up in the bookshop at my work. I saw this. It was expensive (I hardly ever pay full Aussie retail for books. Why spend $30 on a new paperback when I can buy it online for $10 or less?) but I was borderline desperate. And I figured if I didn't like it, Mum probably would so it could be a present for her.

So I read it. It is set in the 1930s in London. A murder mystery writer and playwrite Josephine Tey is on her way down to London from Inverness on the train to see her play's last week in production on the West End. Some one gets murdered on the train. It all links back to her play. And then more murders happen. Everyone hates each other or is tied up in some way to another. It all seems too hard, but luckily Josephine and her detective friend who she bases her character off in her books, are there to save the day and catch the baddie.

I sound cynical. But it was cute. It's just such a well used plot now you can't really describe it without sounding cynical. It's a cozy. And we all know how cozies end. And they all sound a little lame when you describe them.

There was a lot of WWI flashbacks which was a little annoying. Not the ones central to the plot, just the whole "Everyone was so happy before the war" ones. Yes, I know. I'm a bad person.

I also had a real problem with the characters' sexuality. Well, obviously not a "problem" problem, as you would know from my other reviews. But everyone was so openly gay or bi. And I understand that it was more tolerated with women especially after the war, but you couldn't go around introducing them as your lover or snogging people on the street. You could and did get arrested for that. You could get locked up in prison or asylums for that as not only was homosexuality a crime, it was a documented mental illness until the 80s. That just didn't feel real to me.

And lastly, I felt we didn't have any of Phryne Fisher's sassy and sexiness of being a bit younger, or Miss Marple's playing everyone to think she's a dear little old lady-ness. Josephine was just a bit middling.

But over all, not an unpleasant book to read over Christmas. I saw the second in the series on sale next door to Lexx's work today where a discount book shop has opened up. Maybe when I run out of a few other reads...

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