I’ll admit it: I’m in love with Robson and Jerome. It’s a legitimate thing, and although I don’t like everything they’ve done (oh the songs, oh the extreme fishing!), I am a huge fan of Ripper Street and I enjoyed Grantchester on ITV- with its twee facade giving way to some serious discussion on emotive topics.
So I jumped at the chance to read one of the more recent sets of stories, which involves a set of tales with conventional settings which, I thought, promised the thrill of some reasoned argument and inciting, intricate plots.
I was wrong. Whilst the stories are not bad, and have strong echoes of traditional golden age crime fiction (there is a definite attempt to emulate Dorothy L Sayers in the depiction of the upper classes), the writing lacks any real wit and plotting seems to have been completely abandoned in favour of brief forays into ecclesiastical musing.
Despite this there is still no real depth to the stories, which give the reader little cause for questioning and seem devoid of any real knowledge of human nature. A particular failure is the story of a battered housewife, portrayed as a whiney woman whose friendship with the snobbish Amanda Kendall is perhaps less believable than the notion that her alcoholic, philandering husband would suddenly take his own life upon confrontation. The story gears the reader up for a twist that never comes, leaving the reader unsatisfied and frankly, a bit bored.
To summarise, anyone looking for an easy summer read will find this book ideal- for those expecting the deft plotting and exhilarating dialogue of the TV series, you’d be better off binge watching it than reading this. At least that way you can ignore the faults and enjoy watching Robson Green snarl at bloodthirsty housewives.
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