For those not of a geeky persuasion, you might not know that Agatha Christie has appeared in Doctor Who fighting giant alien wasps with David Tennant (clip here). I’ve learnt recently of a second fictional Christie appearance, appropriately solving a murder at a vicarage. At the Bodies From the Library conference (see my previous post), the panel were asked what works were keeping alive the Golden Age in the 21st Century and this was mentioned. It’s gone straight on to my too read list. It can’t be rubbish or the panel member wouldn’t have advocated for it and I wouldn’t have scribbled it in my little notebook. I failed to scribble down who exactly said it though.
Also mentioned more briefly were the Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn, which my Mum and I have been reading and posting to each other. Not up to Golden Age standards by someway, and falling into the cosy crime category, but on the whole good. I think one was really dreary. Begin with the first one and read in order, unlike Miss Marple books which can go in any order, and the dreary one is has a rather good one before and after. First one is Winter Garden Mystery (Daisy Dalrymple). They are set in the 1920s. Journalist the Honourable Miss Dalrymple keeps stumbling on bodies, hanging around , then listening to people unburden themselves till she solves the crime. Not above leading the police astray to protect the people she believes are innocent, she works so frequently with one detective that by about book 8 they are married in spite of the class difference. She carries on with her career, being a modern woman. The mental scars of WW1 occasionaly feature in different characters psyches (also the case with Golden Age detective Lord Peter Whimsy from the novels of Dorothy L. Sayers), but on the whole they are rather light in a nice relaxing way. Both my Mum and I prefer to read them when we feel ill or tired as they aren’t too taxing. Isn’t the cover awful though?! The rest don’t get much better. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!
I’ve recently read the first in another series of mystery/detective books written now, which was less light, but also set in the 1920s –Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mystery 1). I don’t think anyone at the conference mentioned it in the panel, but I think it’s good enough to recommend. The whole book revolves around First World War events affecting the lives of characters in the 1920s. It is sensitive and informative in dealing with soldiers who are horrificly disfigured and I felt I understood the period more after reading it. The back story of how Maisie became a detective is told in a long flash back, told aside from the detection plot. The skills of a pyschologist and detective are taught to her by a mentor, in a not too unlikely way and she really wants to help people, rather than accidentally being somewhere where a death has occurred, then suddenly discovering an aptitude for solving crime! I enjoyed it and would recommend. Can the rest of the series could be as good, as this novel gives so many pages over to Maisie’s life story – without that the author will have to plot a lot more around the crime I imagine. However there are ten Maisie Dobbs novels so far, so I must be wrong, and my Mum enjoyed book 2. Again they read in publishing order as the character’s lives make up much more of the book than a Miss Marple. Much better graphic design.
If you’d like to support my website, you can click through to Amazon to buy the novels via pictures like above or links and I get some money, probably a tiny amount like 0.005p (and in I’ve altered some of my previous posts which mention books so they are linked to Amazon too.) The money will go on cat food, copying fees at the library and yarn, so you know it will be well spent anyway.