You’ll never get me to say anything bad about the keyword search. It’s a marvelous thing. But you have to admit that there’s something to be said for browsing, too. I was wandering through the mystery section of my local library when I noticed several books by Caroline Graham, an author and a series I wasn’t familiar with. I picked up the first, The Killings at Badger’s Drift (1987) and was enchanted by the contemporary take on the traditional mystery.
The series features Inspector Barnaby, who’s investigating the murder of an elderly woman in the secluded village of Badger’s Drift. The woman, Miss Simpson, appears to have died of a heart attack, but her best friend insists that couldn’t be the case. Miss Bellringer convinces Inspector Barnaby to look into the case, and he finds that she was murdered with hemlock; now he just has to figure out who did it.
Although much of this makes it sound like a cozy — the quaint village setting, the concerned neighbors, death by hemlock, the book follows the police procedural tradition as well, as we follow the sometimes crotchety Inspector (and his immature and often silly sidekick, Troy) through their investigation, and some elements of the solution are definitely not for the gentle-minded.
It was a quick read with interesting characters and an evocative setting, so I wasn’t surprised but was delighted to discover that the series was the inspiration for “The Midsomer Murders,” which I’d seen on DVD but didn’t really know what it was. I’ll be looking into that soon, too.
Here’s to browsing!
Counts as “a book with evil in the title” in the What’s In a Name challenge