The Trouble with Categorisation

… is that you end up missing out. I hadn’t included Ian Sansom in my initial selection of crime books set in the country, though his new book, The Norfolk Mystery, is the first in a series of novels that aims to cover off the English counties – so a few more to come, then – apparently 38. However, I have just been revisiting his series set in the small Northern Irish town of Tumdrum, with Israel the mobile librarian, and realising that Tumdrum is in effect an honorary village, especially as scones seem to count as one of the major food groups.

In the second volume, “Mr Dixon Disappears”, Israel is interviewed by the police, who demand to know how many counties in Northern Ireland – six apparently, and any good citizen would know this. This counting of counties is obviously important over there, but I don’t know anyone English who’s been keeping count. Local government re-organisations have happened too frequently for anyone to keep track of what we have.

I’m looking forward to reading the first in the “County Guides”, and I’m sure Mr Sansom will have a long and happy future with the rest of the series (plus there’s always Wales and Scotland if he starts running short of counties).


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