RogerBW's Blog

Where Old Bones Lie, Ann Granger 02 October 2023

1993 mystery, fifth of Granger's novels of Chief Inspector Alan Markby and non-detective Meredith Mitchell. Meredith's asked to help out her nervous friend Ursula on an archaeological dig when a bunch of new age travellers set up nearby, but what Ursula's really concerned about is whether her obsessive ex (also on the dig) may have murdered his wife…

There are a lot of moving parts in this one, with multiple motives pulling and pushing in different directions. (And I think even Granger forgets one of the murders in the summing-up of who did what when and of how the malefactor(s) will be punished.) There's Dan and the wife he's been living with in mutual hatred; there are the two weird old farmers, the religious nutter uncle and the nephew who's not gone down that path but is still nothing like a normal person; there may be some dubious types among the travellers, or maybe they're just suspicious of the police…

Well, of course, it's a detective story, so the police are basically the good guys, and the author's conservatism shows through slightly when Granger paints the travellers' reluctance to be interviewed as unreasonable and obstructive. (There's also a general willingness to call them "hippies", even from characters whom one might think would be too young to have remembered actual hippies.)

Things do get off to a very slow start, but I find I don't mind this when the writing is good—especially when I'm listening to an audio book with a decent narrator (this was read by Judith Boyd, whom I've liked before). And the story does get a bit little-England in places, with Meredith's decision to buy a house in Bamford (thus putting her in a position to get involved in future mysteries without having to invent yet another excuse to get her to leave London) treated at times with almost as much narrative importance as the actual murders. (Meredith is clearly picking up some genre savvy – she talks about "next time" she gets involved in an investigation…)

Still, there's some slight sign of progress in the prickly relationship between Meredith and Alan (and it gets away from the cliché of "you're great except for thing X which really annoys me"). Not a great book, but more than a mere placeholder series entry.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Previous in series: Murder Among Us | Series: Mitchell and Markby

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 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