Detectives beyond families

Peter at Detectives Beyond Borders has an interesting post, Crime Families,  in which he discusses the efforts of various authors, for example Henning Mankell, at creating "alternative families" in their novels. Peter asks readers to suggest additional books in which families play a significant part in the plot. I immediately thought of Ruth Rendell’s Chief Inspector Wexford (and Inspector Burden) books (see comment to Peter’s post), in which Wexford’s two daughters and Burden’s family feature regularly, driving the plot in most outings. Another family-oriented detective series that has occurred to me since then is the one by Donna Leon, featuring Inspector Brunetti and his improbably perfect feminist, cook and literature professor wife, Paula, with their two (now) teenage children, who often provide plot-fodder. Any other ideas? Please comment either at Peter’s place or here — we can liaise.

Students prefer Amazon for textbooks

Amazon’s marketplace is the most used source of second hand textbooks in the UK. Almost 29 % of students in a recent survey said they had bought their last second hand course book from Amazon marketplace, while only 11.7% had used their university bookshop. The study was done by Shift Media,  who  sent questionnaires to over 2,400 lecturers and interviewed 779 students across the UK.  Disciplines covered included sociology, psychology, politics, business, economics, law and computer science, but not the basic sciences.

“It is clear that Amazon market place is really having an impact on the way that students look for textbooks.” said Jane Powell, Director of Shift Media. “Other online sources such as eBay are also popular. As more students learn about these sites and how easy it is to sell books this way, we may see further growth in the second-hand market. This may present an increasing problem for UK publishers.”