Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Puzzles, tricks and whodunits...

I love mysteries. Since the much lamented demise of BBC Japan I have had to search out alternatives to the brilliant The Mrs Bradley Mysteries in which Diana Rigg - as Mrs Adela Bradley - extols pragmatic words of wisdom like the following:

"Same old coiffure, husband secure. New style of hair, husband beware!"

Fortunately we do have LaLa TV here in Japan, which replays some classic TV shows like Murder, She Wrote starring the indomitable Jessica Fletcher - aka Angela Lansbury:

(Image from here)

Now, while I do enjoy sitting back and watching Mrs Fletcher handily solve a murder mystery in 45 minutes...woman cannot live on TV alone - she also needs books and lots of them!

DCI Alan Banks live in North Yorkshire and "is lean and wiry with short, cropped black hair greying a little at the temples...not especially handsome in the classic sense, but attractive to women...fanatical about music..." (Inspector Banks' PIR will fill in the blanks for you.)

(Image from Amazon UK)

Critics regard Peter Robinson's In A Dry Season to be the best of his literary police procedurals starring Banks. It links the lives of residents from Hobbs End - a village that was surrendered to the waters of Thornfield Reservoir - to discover how a young woman may have died over 50 years ago.

Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch is a man with a mission, a mission to "speak for the dead". Michael Connelly selected this name as "I didn't want to waste anything. I wanted all aspects of his character to be meaningful...I saw the metaphorical possibilities of juxtaposing contemporary Los Angeles with the Bosch paintings." (Read Michael Connelly's FAQs for the full description.)

(Image from Amazon UK )

The Last Coyote details Bosch's attempts to investigate an unsolved crime from 1961. A brutal murder that has profoundly affected Bosch, as the victim was his mother. He discovers that someone was able to keep the investigators away from the key suspects...will the cover-up remain intact today?

Commissario Guido Brunetti lives and works in La Serenissima (Venice, Italy), a relatively crime-free locale. "He loves his family, the majesty of Italian cuisine, and his job, even as he constantly rails against the bumbling and interference of his superiors...Guido is an island of integrity in a sea of corruption." (This site has the full details.)

(Image from Amazon UK)

Acqua Alta reintroduces some colourful characters from the first Brunetti mystery, Death At La Fenice, and forces Brunetti to investigate a savage beating and a swollen corpse against the backdrop of a cold and grey Venice.

Banks, Bosch and Brunetti are investigators that are looking to provide some sense of meaning to life and are inexorably drawn to the victims in their respective series. Each murder provides more details about their personalities and motivations. While you can delve into any of the novels for a complete tale, you will enjoy the character development more if you read the series in order. (Does anyone else find it weird that they all have "B" names?!)
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  • At 7:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That was a great read and thanks for all the new suggestions!

  • At 7:25 pm, Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said…

    I have read Banks. He always seems to have so many problems.

    As for Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansbury, it's wise to stay away from her, as the body count where she goes usually ends up being high!

    Michele sent me here.

  • At 7:27 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Anon: No problem!

    JLP: I think that's what makes it so enjoyable to read! And it's funny how JF is always in the thick of things. Corny, but still enjoyable.

  • At 8:18 pm, Blogger Catherine said…

    I remember Jessica Fletcher1 Tonight I have been watching Midsomer Murders - that one seemed to have a high body count, too.
    Michele sent me.

  • At 10:24 pm, Anonymous Antonia said…

    That is kind of strange that they all have b names! I loved Murder She Wrote too :-)

  • At 10:59 pm, Blogger Bearette24 said…

    what's a PIR? it's fun that you mention angela lansbury...i saw her double on the train the other day ;)

  • At 11:10 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Catherine: Yours sounds good too!

    Antonia: Seems like I'm not the only one! I do like investigators with other names though!

    Bearette: Police Incident Report - it's a cool way they've listed all the details of Banks on that page. I love Angela Lansbury...Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a fantastic movie.

  • At 11:37 pm, Blogger Juliness said…

    Love your blog name! I have a Roald Dahl quote on my work email signature. Here today via Michele's...

  • At 4:51 pm, Blogger Kelvin said…

    Hello from down under in New Zealand. I love mysteries too....!!!

  • At 5:54 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Juliness: Roald Dahl is a god!

    Kelvin: You have good taste!


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