In a Dark House

The holiday is now over. The title is the name of a book by Deborah Crombie that I’ve just finished, part of her Duncan/Gemma police series. It is much better than the previous one, which was about Scottish whisky distilliaries and seemed to be set on a different planet to Scotland in all aspects. I was going to write that Crombie and Elizabeth George seem to be converging, until I noticed that the blurb of Crombie’s book said "comparisons with Elizabeth George are inevitable", so somebody else got there first. It seems to me that these authors’ books were not similar a few books ago — although both authors seem to be Americans (?) who like to set their books in the UK, and both concern aristocratic policemen. I think they must both think that Peter-Wimsey-like characters populate this country.

In her last book, George seems to be ditching the aristocratic aspects of her books, which I think is a good thing, as it is really hard to picture a Scotland Yard detective like Lynley, or indeed anyone of a lower rank than Prince Charles living the kind of life he and his friend St James do. I guess both authors’ plots must be believable to readers who don’t and haven’t lived in the UK, but they have an unintentional amusing side to a UK native reader.

"In a Dark House" featured quotes from Dickens at the top of each chapter, and was intended to be "London bankside atmospheric", harking back to the great fire, etc. Can’t say it seemed very realistic to me, not just the London aspects but the female firefighter, the police procedural (the London police force seems to consist of 4 senior policemen who do everything within about 4 plot lines, and nobody else to assist), though it was readable. I did enjoy the earlier books in the series a lot more than the last few, so maybe will stop reading her now. I see from Amazon that she already has another book due to be published later this year — if my pile is any lower by then maybe I will give it a try.

Yesterday created a "crime fiction" area on Connotea. More another time.