Our mystery this month was set in England between the two world wars.  For some reason, this era seems to have moved to the forefront of everyone’s awareness, what with Downton Abbey on t.v. and War Horse in theaters.  Not too long ago, we read Maisie Dobbs and Her Royal Spyness, both set in the same time period.  An interesting coincidence.

Written by a mother-son writing team, this book is the 11th in the series and, after reading this one, I must go back and start at the beginning of the series.  Yes, I enjoyed it that much.  It’s one of those books that grabs you by the throat and drags you in and then at the end, you’re madly turning the pages to find out who did it. 

But while I enjoyed it, this book rather split the group.  Sylvia didn’t like how Inspector Rutledge kept going back to the suspects every time he found out something new.  Someone compared it to Columbo and his “Just one more thing…” bit. 

Les didn’t find any of the characters interesting and thought they were flat.  He also didn’t like the Hamish voice chiming in all the time and while we all admitted it was a little odd, most of us got used to it. 

I neglected to bring up any questions at the meeting, such as who was a favorite character, who was the most hated and that sort of thing.  But Les and I had a lively discussion about how Les thought Quarles was perfectly awful, while I claimed that while he was awful, he wasn’t really as awful as everyone thought he was.  There wasn’t any truth to the rumours about the affairs and he had rescued his sister from her situation in the north, setting her up in a comfortable situation, weird though it was. 

The truth seemed to be a concept that a lot of characters had trouble with in this book.

The group also discussed the idea that the Brits were the ones that started the cozy and the inspector-type mysteries, while the Americans came up with the hard-boiled P.I.-type of story.  This is a complete generalization, of course, but an interesting thought, given that this month’s book was written by Americans, but set in Britain.

Most of the group enjoyed the book and would read another in the series.  I’m also a little intrigued by the other series by the same authors featuring a nurse in WWI.  You know, because it’s all the rage.

Pam offered up her current favorite author, Jo Nesbo, a Norwegian she’s reading in translation.  Redbreast deals with events that occurred in World War II and their impact upon modern day characters

Annette urged us to read Stephen King’s new book, 11/22/63 because she was really enjoying it.

Next month, local author David Sundstrand will be coming to our meeting when we discuss his book Shadows of Death.  Be sure to bring some questions to grill him with.

Now I’m off to read up on the Boer War.  Will it be the next big thing?

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