Two series – both probably acquired tastes

Another day, another post – delayed (sorry) by Son Two running the Great North Run in under two hours…and Son One doing the Support Vehicle and the roast dinner!  Like Son One I am staring a  new course (Open University) so reading priorities are  changing. British History for Dummies anyone? At least it provides a useful reminder of the batting order of monarchs and the difference between spinning jennies and mules (don’t ask)

Anyway, two books that are part of series. Lucia’s Progress by E.F. Benson

Lucia's Progress (Black Swan)

is the second in the Mapp and Lucia series. Set in the 1920s, it features two women of a certain age playing one – up womanship in the small town of Tilling. It is subtle piece of writing in which nothing much happens, but it features some outrageous acts of small defiance. Each woman, whether by marrying, investing in strange shares, house buying and selling or aggressive bridge playing, tries to outdo the other. It is a strange sort of humour, in many respects an acquired taste, but involving some memorable characters, not least Major Benjy and Georgie, the hapless men who get dragged into the schemes. I enjoy these books in small doses, and they are not the easiest to describe, but if you enjoy the characters in Pym, Delafield and even (if I dare to say it) Austen, you may well find this series worth tracking down. They can be bought new quite cheaply, though I have yet to buy the dvd versions which are apparently available.

Dead in the Water by Carola Dunn is the latest that I have read in the Daisy Dalrymple series of murder mysteries. Like the others, it is a very easy read, though this particular episode requires a little knowledge of rowing and messing about in boats, as it is set in a 1920s regetta featuring races between colleges and other teams. As always, there is a death early on, and the bulk of the novel is spent sorting it out. En route there is injury, suspicion and death as Daisy and her fiance Alex deal with servants, aristocracy and grand houses against the background of recovering from the First World War. It is a good read if your taste is towards people who wherever they go seem to encounter murder, and the characters are a little better in this book than in some in the series. The plotting is a little weaker, though, despite the details of rowing and hangovers. If you like this series of books, it is a good addition, but not as good as some of the others, especially Murder on the Flying Scotsman, which must win out for the title alone. Another acquired taste, probably…



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