RogerBW's Blog

The Grub-and-Stakers Pinch a Poke, Charlotte MacLeod 08 September 2018

1988, cosy American detective fiction; third of MacLeod's novels (as "Alisa Craig") of Dittany Henbit and the Lobelia Falls Grub-and-Stakers Gardening & Roving Club. There's a collection of antique theatrical memorabilia looking for a new home, and its owner sets a contest: whoever writes and produces the best new play, on a vaguely Canadian subject, will get it for their town. The Club gets together a two-act drama based on The Shooting of Dan McGrew, but complications follow.

Though there's no murder, which seems rather an omission: there's a setup for it, not unlike that in Enter a Murderer, but the act itself is avoided more or less by chance, and so are later attempts. Who swapped the cartridges, and why has Dittany's Aunt Arethusa collected so many male admirers? Only one of these questions will be answered.

It's all enjoyable, but very slight, and it ends up being much more about the comedic people (both series regulars and guest stars) than about the mystery – although, unlike some of MacLeod's books, there is at least a mystery for the reader to solve in this one, with clues to be interpreted, rather than background criminality and a rabbit-out-of-the-hat solution.

It's all quite wordy even though the book is short, and bits of comedy with a variety of deadly animals never raise the story above the category of time-filler. The characters are enjoyable, but not terribly distinct from MacLeod's other characters from other series.

Absolutely not a book to start the series with; the only real virtue is a bit more about characters one is presumed already to favour. I didn't dislike it, but it's awfully hard to find anything positive to say about it. Followed by The Grub-and-Stakers Spin a Yarn.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Add A Comment

Your Name
Your Email
Your Comment

Your submission will be ignored if any field is left blank, but your email address will not be displayed. Comments will be processed through markdown.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1