RogerBW's Blog

Dying in the Wool, Frances Brody 12 February 2019

2009 mystery, first in the Kate Shackleton series (amateur detection). Kate's husband went missing in action in 1918; unable to locate him, she turned her hand to finding other vanished people. Now in 1922 an old VAD friend wants to find her missing father, who vanished after a possible suicide attempt. Some people don't want the past dug up.

There are some 'tween-wars mysteries that are solidly of the "what fun" school, like Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher books. There are others that try to be a bit more gritty, and this is one of them. There is blackmail and adultery and bastardy and, perhaps more to the point, nobody here seems to be having any fun with either their sins or their rectitude, either before or after the mystery is solved.

And yet the structure is more appropriate to a cosy: Kate comes in, asks questions, uncovers a murder, and sorts everything out. (Though the killer goes unpunished, for Reasons.) There's an attempt to put her in physical danger but it's unconvincing.

I really liked the basic idea here – a not-quite-widow, enthusiastic motorist and photographer, trying to make a life in the absence of her husband – and the post-War setting. But the people didn't engage me (though I was at least able to keep them distinct), the infodumps on the operation of a textile mill killed what pace there was, and the occasional flashbacks (giving the reader information known to suspects but not at the time to Kate) felt lazy.

It certainly doesn't help that Brody is desperately unwilling to use the word "might" even when it's clearly the right one. "I wondered what Dr Grainger may want to say to me." "I took a sip, and immediately wished I hadn't, expecting she may have poisoned me."

Followed by A Medal for Murder, but I feel no great enthusiasm for continuing with this series.

[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 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