After Tuesday’s visit by Rod Duncan, we were given the next book on the list, ‘Death of a Village’ by thingy. Mrs Beaton, as everyone calls her. Well, like the first one I read, it went down more or less without touching the sides: enjoyable, preposterous, engaging, unlikely and – well, kinda stuck. Macbeth (for it was he) is a lowly village policeman who creeps under the toes of more qualified coppers and, by a combination of local knowledge, bloody-mindedness and a lazy but perceptive dog, he manages to outwit them all and at the same time put in place strategies to prevent his promotion – because being promoted would mean leaving the village of Lochdubh and spoiling the setting for the novels.
I get a bit impatient with novel series that utterly refuse to move on, because it’s putting marketing above creativity. But what else did I expect?
Enjoyable but formulaic and unmemorable – that’s my verdict.
It’s written with half an eye on the TV adaptation anyway. But what interests me in the end is how much Shakespeare finds its way into crime fiction. I’m sure critics have written whole screeds about this (incidentally, what is a screed?) but it’s interesting nonetheless: there are loads of quotations in, say, Agatha Christie, and the protagonist of the ‘Death of a – ‘ series is called Macbeth. You can’t get any more Shakespearian than that. So what’s that all about?
As a sort of antidote to this nonsense, I am reading the second in the ‘His Dark Materials’ sequence, ‘The Subtle Knife’. This takes place mostly in our world and centres on Will, a character very different from Lyra but whose story is bound up with hers. I will write more about this next week, so for now I will say goodbye and good reading.
By the way, it’s still Everybody’s Reading Week in Leicester, so catch up with some events: