The nights are drawing in. By five o’clock it’s cold and dark and there’s nothing I want to watch on TV. On days like this the best thing of all to do is draw the curtains, switch on the lamp and curl up on the sofa with a good book.
I don’t want anything too serious, or harrowing, I want a story that I can lose myself in for a couple of hours. A historical novel, women’s fiction, something with a hint or more of the supernatural or a good cosy crime any one of these can be the perfect choice.
Although I enjoy cosy crime as a genre it can be very mixed bag. What I particularly enjoy is a novel which is more than a romp, which has characters I can relate to and a murder that puzzles and intrigues me. I never like it when I can guess who did it and why, I want the plot to unravel slowly so that the ending is inevitable and satisfying.
“In Cases of Murder” by Jan Edwards fits this brief perfectly. It’s the fourth book in the Bunch Courtney series and the characters have developed in depth as the series has progresses. I especially enjoy the relationship, if that is what it can be called, between Bunch and Inspector Wright, their banter is delightful and the tension between them almost palpable. Another favourite character is Beatrice, the matriarch of the Courtney family. Once an active suffragette Lady Courtney is a stickler for doing what is right and proper, not however without a knowing twinkle in her eye. She also has all the info on the local gentry, a very useful attribute for her detecting granddaughter.
Another joy in the books is the depiction of country life during World War 2. All of which is so subtly insinuated into the novel that it becomes the seamless background to the action.
The murders themselves, though occasionally brutal, are never dwelt on, which since I am not a fan of blood and gore, suits me fine. Having said that the consequences are never glossed over. Nor is the realty of wartime. Family members go missing in action, or are killed and there is the constant threat of invasion. Food is rationed and so is petrol.
In spite of all this Bunch keeps going. A stiff upper lip, a talent for enjoying life as when she can, plus her determination to solve the crime makes her one of my favourite detectives.
This blog didn’t start out as a book review, but somehow Bunch took over, as indeed she would. All I can say is if you want a good read then you should definitely give her a go.