RogerBW's Blog

Mrs Pargeter's Package, Simon Brett 19 December 2017

1990 mystery; third in Brett's Mrs Pargeter series (amateur sleuthing). Mrs Pargeter keeps another recent widow company on a package holiday to Corfu, but clearly things are amiss even before the murder and the cover-up.

Well, as a mystery it's utterly straightforward: Brett is stingy with the clues, but as soon as a piece of information is learned one can see its significance. There's no particular reasoning needed here. The plot leaves no cliché unturned, and there's a deus ex machina ending that smacks of desperation.

Cliché also abounds in the description of the package tourists, including "the young couple from South Woodham Ferrers in Essex, who had just got their eighteen-month-old Craig off to sleep", "the retired man in the beige safari suit, who had appointed himself the life and soul of the party", and "the Secretary with Short Bleached Hair". Fortunately they're used mostly for incidental colour; it's the locals who actually matter, and they're rather better drawn.

All right, it's no This Rough Magic; the humour here is not from a sense of the ridiculous, but more "look at the horrible people, aren't you glad you're not like them". Generally I've enjoyed either the mystery or the characters in Brett's books; in this one, neither of them really worked. In the end I'd file this one next to Brand's Tour de Force, and that's not a compliment. Followed by Mrs Pargeter's Pound of Flesh.

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

See also:
This Rough Magic, Mary Stewart
Tour de Force, Christianna Brand

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.

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