Monday, 6 January 2014

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

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PD James was a presence while I grew up. She was always there. Same with Ruth Rendell. They were an infinitely growing, ominous, dark tomed presence that appeared on and loomed from the bookshelves. I had no idea what was in them, until I was old enough to start watching murder mysteries on TV with my Mum, but these books were slowly taking over.

But up until now, I have never read a book by either of them. So when I abandoned my first U read for the alphabet (Unnatural Fire, I couldn't deal with the language) I picked up this one.

This book is a spin off of sorts to her Adam Dalgliesh series. He makes an appearance at the end of the book and has a talked about presence throughout. Cordelia Grey is a early 20 something who worked a typing temp for a private investigator. He liked her and her investigative skills so much, he hired her on as another PI. Then made her a partner in the business. And then manages to kill himself leaving Cordelia the business which is unheard of in the 1970s for a woman to have a business, particularly of this nature, and so young.

Lurched into all of this Cordelia gets employed on her first solo case to go up to Cambridge and investigate the death of a young uni dropout called Mark Callender. This involves all sorts of running around Cambridge, hard life for some.

It's a short book, so I don't want to give anything else away really. It was fun. It a proper British murder mystery. I felt like I should have been watching it as a BBC miniseries at times. It's dated well, besides the typewriters. At least I spent enough time as a kid playing with a typewriter I know about ribbons and how annoying they are. And despite the title, it was not even half as sexist as I expected it to be. That was rather refreshing, especially after the last couple of reads.

And best of all, I didn't pick the ending! I love murder mysteries when I don't work out then end.

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