The Killings at Badger’s Drift by Caroline Graham

 

I have watched all the seasons available on Acorn TV of Midsomer Murders and finally decided to read one of the books.  This is the first book in the series that Midsomer Murders is based on.  In this book, we meet Chief Inspector Barnaby and Sargeant Troy and the additional characters of Joan, Barnaby’s wife and Cully, his actress daughter.  I have seen the episode based on this book so there was not much to surprise me, especially because the book and TV show were very similar.

This is a well written, at times humorous introduction to the series.  It captures the classic English village mystery feel to a T.  The characters are well drawn and interesting and the mystery is well plotted with red herrings and misdirection.  I am really glad I finally read one of the books and will look to read others in the series.  Very enjoyable read that immersed me in the world of Midsomer Murder.

 

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The Chessmen & Knots and Crosses

Two more books down from my giant TBR list…The Chessmen by Peter May is the final book in a trilogy that included The Blackhouse and The Lewis Man.  At this point in the books, Fin is no longer a police man.  Now he is private security and is given the job of stopping poaching that is occurring on the estate.  His job reconnects him with Whistler, a childhood friend, and then embroils him in a mystery involving a missing airplane and pilot  from decades before.

First rate writing and plotting of the mystery.  There is some resolution of events from the first two books, so I would suggest reading the trilogy in order, I’m not sure how it would do as a stand alone.  The setting and the characters, especially Fin, really are what makes these books stand out among many of the other mystery/thrillers that are out there. This is a fast paced read, yet it manages to have a dark, moody feel to it.  Fans of atmospheric thrillers, such as Ann Cleeves work will enjoy this!

Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin is the first book in the Inspector Rebus series.  This is a mystery novel in which the focus is really on the detective more than anything else…and he is a hard character to like, seeming to be tortured by demons from his past, related to SAS training, he drinks and smokes too much.  He is divorced and doesn’t seem that close to his daughter, although he does love her.  His performance in the police force has not led to promotions or success.  His relationship with his only brother, Michael, is strained.  Perhaps as the series progresses and he faces some of his issues he becomes a more likable character.

The mystery although initially presented as a random serial killer, has a personal connection to Rebus.  I don’t want to say anything more to spoil the book for anyone else, but just that some of his actions made no sense to me, but I suppose they are intended to demonstrate the depth of his issues??  I might pick up and read a later one in this series to see how it progresses.