Monday, 22 March 2010

Review: The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham

G'day, everyone. I'm back from vacation and I can't say how happy I am about that fact. Enjoy my latest Monday book review!

Buy the book!
Genre: Cozyish mystery - I say this because there are some gruesome scenes.

How I read it: I own the book.

What attracted me to the book: I love watching the series on TV.

What it worth the money? Her books are cheap. You can probably find hundreds of her books in a used book store... so yes.

Who should read this book: Everyone who loves a clever whodunit.

Summary (from amazon): The British author makes her debut here in an uncommonly appealing mystery, set in a tranquil village, Badger's Drift. Learned Chief Inspector Barnaby and callow Sergeant Troy go to work when importunate, elderly Miss Bellringer insists that her friend, Emily Simpson, did not die of a heart attack as her doctor claimed, but was murdered. An autopsy proves Miss Bellringer right; Emily had imbibed a Socratic mix of wine and hemlock. Spreading alarm throughout the community, an unseen murderer strikes again, leaving sly Mrs. Rainbird's bloody corpse to be found by her son, the local undertaker. As Barnaby and Troy investigate, they turn up evidence of another crime years earlier, and several suspects. Among them are the doctor's promiscuous wife, a young woman whose brother objects to her marriage to a rich widower and a Lady Chatterley-type gamekeeper. Diligent detecting brings the chief and his bumbling assistant to a sensational expose. Graham makes the characters humanly believable in her witty and tragic novel, a real winner.

My thoughts: I just realized that Edward Martin talked about Midsomer on his blog today too. I read this book a long time ago and wanted to re-read it because of the 2010 challenge. I'm glad I did. I own quite a few of Graham's books, some with Inspector Barnaby as the main character, some not.

Perhaps because this is her first book, she doesn't fill it with massive amounts of description. She keeps the book to the point and only adds the exciting bits. I loved all the off-the-wall characters. I actually like to read first books from authors, before the publishing world really sinks their claws into the writers and demands word count and formula. I felt the way about Elizabeth George's first book as well. Since then, both authors have produced longer books with more filler.

I think once you read this book, you will not forget the premise. I give a warning however...some of the themes in his cozy mystery are not suitable for younger adults.

Did I figure out who the murderer was before the main character(s): I suspected something but how it was done exactly eluded me.

Bottom Line: She writes wonderful books. She's an easy read. A great series to start and start here.


An Extra: Here's a pic from my garden.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I LOVE Graham's books. And I love the Midsomer series for television--I was crushed when A&E canceled it.

And you're right...the setting is cozy, the crimes a little gruesome. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Mason Canyon said...

Sounds like interesting books. I remember seeing the series briefly on A & E, but I didn't watch it. Wish now I had. Love the photo from your garden.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Elizabeth, I think there are something like ten seasons of the

Mason, they are your typical British mystery show like Lynley or Morse.


Talli Roland said...

Funny, because I always see the show on the telly on some station or another when I flick through the channels, but I've never actually watched it. Now that I've read your review, I might! (Or read the book, anyway.)

Anonymous said...

Ann - I am a real Caroline Graham fan, so thank you so much for featuring this one : ). As you say, the murders aren't for the squeamish, but it's a good book. Your review is also thoughtful and well-written - nicely done!