RogerBW's Blog

A Dismal Thing to Do, Charlotte MacLeod 02 July 2018

1986, cosy American detective fiction; third of MacLeod's novels (as "Alisa Craig") of Madoc and Janet Rhys. After Janet is nearly killed while trying to give assistance at a road accident, Madoc is brought in at the other end of the case to track down stolen military equipment.

This isn't really a "mystery" as such; apart from one obvious false lead, quickly dropped, it's always quite clear who's involved in the Fell Doings. The only real question is just what those fell doings might be.

This is very much the sort of story MacLeod was writing at this point in her career: there are lots of Wacky Locals (the setting is back in Janet's home town, after the isolation of Murder Goes Mumming), and hero and heroine are all over each other at the slightest opportunity because this is Funny. After a strong start, Janet's sadly sidelined from the actual investigation, which is mostly straightforward police procedural.

The characters, Wacky or otherwise, are the prize here; even the ones who could easily be played as stereotypes have some degree of subtlety to them. There's also some surprisingly atmospheric searching of a snow-bound crime scene.

As usual with MacLeod this is a palate-cleanser rather than anything to be taken as serious reading. Followed by Trouble in the Brasses.

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

Previous in series: Murder Goes Mumming | Series: Madoc and Janet Rhys | Next in series: Trouble in the Brasses

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