From the chapters covering some of the key locations of classic British mysteries (the countryside, including and especially country manors, as well as London -- of course -- and domestic and international vacation resorts), we've now moved to an exploration of how the various writers used their "original" professional experience in their writing, and how classic mysteries worked when set in the worlds of science, engineering, politics, teaching -- and of course, the world if the professional investigator, the policeman.
I find I am particularly enjoying these chapters; while those dealing with the various geographical settings were a huge enterprise of cramming as many titles into the introductory chapters as possible (with considerable "name recognition" value -- this is, after all, the Golden Age mystery world 101, and you can't possibly read classic British crime fiction without coming across at least a fair share of the novels mentioned in those chapters somewhere or orther eventually) -- now we're back to an analysis as to what exactly made the novels, and their writers and protagonists, tick ... and how it impacted the various storylines. That, in addition to being introduced to a plethora of new authors to read, was a major draw for me in the initial 5 chapters, too, where the focus was on how the "conventions" and hallmarks of classic British crime fiction were shaped.
Now off to working on another "books mentioned" reading list ...
Up to the end of chapter 10 now, and we've moved into the territory also covered by Edward's short story anthologies: Serpents in Eden (countryside crimes), Murder at the Manor (country house crimes), Capital Crimes (London mysteries) and Resorting to Murder (detectives solving crimes while on vacation), and finally, Making Fun of Murder (books satirizing the genre -- so far, not also the topic of a short story anthology).
I'd been planning to create one single "other books mentioned" list for all five of these chapters, but it turns out Edwards really went overboard on this one ... so I ended up with an 80+ book list just for chapters 6 and 7 (the two countryside chapters):
-- with further lists to be created for the next chapters separately.
Either my memory is failing me, or there are just too many characters being thrown at me too quickly. The use of multiple names per person (Nora, Mrs. Charles) and the party scene in Chapter 7 didn't help. So I actually made a list of characters/people mentioned
[ ] Nick Charles
[ ] Nora Charles
[ ] Asta - the schnauzer
[ ] Clyde Miller Wynant - inventor
[ ] Herbert Macaulay - Clyde's lawyer
[ ] Dorothy (Dorry) Wynant - daughter
[ ] Gilbert Wynant - brother
[ ] Mimi (Wynant) Jorgensen
[ ] Mr. Christian Jorgensen
[ ] Julia Wolf
[ ] Harrison Quinn
[ ] Mrs. Alice Quinn
[ ] Margot Innes
[ ] Albert Norman
[ ] Larry Crowley
[ ] Denis - girl with Crowley
[ ] The Edges
[ ] Shep Morelli - accused of murder
[ ] Studsy Burke
[ ] Policeman John Guild
[ ] Victor Rosewater
We'll see if this helps.
Flanders delivers again - with the exception of one scene that asked too much suspension of disbelief, I had a great time with this book.
Helping a neighbour check on her missing friend, Sam is sucked into a well-intentioned case of B&E, but when that friend turns up dead in an arson-related house fire down the street, Sam can't resist wondering: how does a man who worked with at risk boys, dined with elderly neighbours, and helped squatters negotiate the law end up setting fires and selling drugs?
The mystery surrounding all of this is deliciously complex, and even though I correctly picked out the guilty party early, I had no earthly idea why that person was guilty (sometimes it's obvious by the story's construction - the dog that doesn't bark, so to speak), and finding out was fun and a little bit... if not surprising, interesting. And a little bit sad.
Most of all, I love the scenes that are played out in the publishing house Sam works for - the politics of the job, the editing process (the part that isn't all about the grammar), and the office interactions are all some of my favourite bits. (Miranda is awesome.)
This is one of those cozy mysteries I can recommend without reservation; it's not the fluffy stuff being pumped out in droves; it's smart, funny, real, and highly relatable in just about all aspects (save that scene I mentioned at the beginning). These are the ones I buy in hardcover - bring on #4!