Monthly Archives: December 2013

Mud Season

It’s mud season here in the North. It’s been mild, so the unfrozen ground likes to follow you home. The hound has brought plenty of mud in from the garden, and I spend my weekends de-mudding the house, in the full and certain knowledge that by mid-week the hallway will look as if a herd of cattle have just passed through. It’s therefore no coincidence that I’ve been reading Ann Granger’s “Mud, Muck and Dead Things“.

It’s a splendid title (and reminds me of Rumer Godden’s comment, in the second volume of her autobiography, “A House with Four Rooms”: “I can’t stand farming. It’s all petrol and killing.”) but there is something strangely wrong with the book, and it’s taken me a couple of weeks to work out what it is. It’s the first volume in a new series, introducing a new team of detectives, and yet the detectives don’t appear until almost halfway through the book. It’s one thing to have a bit of a leisurely start, but quite another to chuck your investigators in as an afterthought. Granger is an immensely competent author, and in anyone else’s hands I might have given up, but you know that she can write, and hold up a story, and won’t accidentally drop you on your head like a badly-fixed hammock, and yet… this one doesn’t really work for me. In a spirit of either optimism or masochism, I have ordered the next one in the series. There will be a second chance, but definitely no third chances.

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