Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Affair of the [books]


The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy, The Affair of the Mutilated Mink and The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks are all currently available in one paperback volume. I got mine from my local Waterstones as part of a three-for-the-price-of-two deal, and have to confess I probably wouldn't have picked it up to buy alone. This is simply because many modern crime novels set in the past never really ring true, especially in the attitudes of the characters.

As it turns out, I really enjoyed …Bloodstained Egg Cosy because it doesn't take itself too seriously. Anderson doesn't try to make any great social comment on the status of women or servants, nor does her shoehorn in lots of references to historical events and brands. (It's very annoying when some writers do that; I always feel they ought to put 'I DID MONTHS OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH FOR THIS NOVEL, WORSHIP MY AUTHENTICITY' on the frontispiece and be done with it. No, …Bloodstained Egg Cosy is a country house murder mystery with an entertaining batch of characters, several of whom are not quite who they claim to be. There's a politician, a foreign diplomat, an American millionaire and his wife and several others as well as the titled family who live in the house. When I try to think of what I could liken it to, the television programme Jonathan Creek is what springs to mind. It has the same unrealistic-yet-fun feel.

The two subsequent books are set in the same house, with several characters, not just the detective, Inspector Wilkins, reappearing in each story, and while it would be a nice gimmick and add to the charming, slightly tongue-in-cheek feeling of the individual books if you came across them months apart, reading them one after another does get a little monotonous. If you did buy this, read one, then put the book away for a month or two. You'll enjoy the second and third stories better that way.

5 comments :

  1. What a coincidence! I am about 50 pages from the end of The blood stained egg cosy. I took it away with me last weekend. I have the others and another 3 I got them from my book club. Haven't read any of the others yet

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  2. With you and Miss Magpie to recommend it, this is going straight into my Amazon basket. I found Downton Abbey annoying in the way you describe this not being (grammar?) - too much research, Titanic sinking! women mut be pure! servants must not be seen! etc., etc. These stories sound delightful.

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  3. I actually got told off by Himself as I don't have another 3 books of this at all. I was telling him about this post and he quite rightly pointed out that I only have the 3 books you mention and it is infact a different set of 6 that I also bought from my book club that are languishing under the bed!
    Apologies for being misleading.

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  4. Miss Magpie, I'm impressed that Himself knew what books you have. I made Mr Robot a very long list of things I'd like for Christmas so I won't know what I'm getting but it won't be a repeat.

    Mrs Exeter, I haven't watched Downton Abbey. I still haven't forgiven them for what they did to Poldark.

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  5. Hmmm, i do love a good murder mystery. And I am rather fond of Creek too. Will have to add these to my list! Such fab titles too :-)

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