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Thursday, January 5, 2012

British Mysteries - An Aquired Taste?

British Mysteries – an acquired taste?

You have a choice this month between reading a British mystery by an English author (Robert Barnard) or a British mystery by an American mother and son team (Charles Todd).  Other than the fact that they both take place in Britain, they can be considered completely different in almost every other way.
Robert Barnard has written 40 mysteries under his own name. One of his series features Charlie Peace of the West Yorkshire CID. His title this month, A Charitable Body, features this detective. Barnard’s stories are almost cozies with intricate plots and witty repartee. This particular title, the ninth in the series, while not his best work, provides red herrings, upstairs-downstairs upsets, and an old-fashioned mystery that will appeal to those who enjoyed reading Agatha Christie. A manor house is turned over to the National Trust and a body is found in the pond. Who could it be? Charlie Peace is determined to find out and luckily his wife is on the board.
Charles Todd’s series feature an upper-class Scotland Yard detective, Ian Rutledge, who came back shell-shocked from World War I.  The entry in this series this month is the 14th, The Confession. This series is historical and suspenseful, they rely more on characters than plots although the plots are compelling and often moving. This time a walk-in man, Wyatt Russell, informs them that he is dying of cancer but killed his cousin 5 years earlier in 1915. Rutledge investigates his claim in his home village but two week later, someone kills Russell. Rutledge must now puzzle out who would kill and dying man while wrestling with his own demons. A really great read for those who enjoy historical mysteries. They (mother and son) manage to get just the right historical atmosphere.

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