Odds and ends

Ok, Easter is over and I’m back at work (sigh).

For some reason it has become almost mandatory to read whodunnits at Easter in Norway, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I had a very frustrating time of it, though, as what I like is to be surprised when I get to the end, and this year very few things surprised me.

First, I read Kakerlakkene by Jo Nesbø. It’s a Norwegian one, and I don’t think it’s been translated, so those of you who don’t read Norwegian will just have to ignore this bit. Nesbø is one of my favourite songwriters, so I thought it was about time I checked out his novels, too. And I’m glad I did, too. Very engaging, and beautifully written. Unfortunately, I sort of guessed major parts of the plot way before they happened. Pity. Still, I’m certainly going to read the other Harry Hole books as well.

Right, then I got on to P.D. James’ last novel, Death in Holy Orders. I got rather worried half way through, as the person I thought would be murdered had just been murdered and I thought maybe I knew who’d done it, too. Fortunately, I was proved wrong – I hadn’t guessed the murderer, though I’d sort of guessed the motive. All in all, the end made me very happy (for another reason, too – trying to avoid spoilers here), and I can say that, as usual, P.D. James really has to be read.

I also watched Evil Under the Sun (Agatha Christie) on television, and got the murderer way too early. Very annoying, but the Poirot mini-series are always so throughly enjoyable because of the setting and the people that it didn’t really matter all that much.

Gosford Park is a whodunnit of a sort, too, and I saw that Saturday. Beautifully done, with an amazing cast, wonderful props, costumes and cars, lovely lines abounding and an invaluable addtion to the portayal of upstairs/downstairs life. But again: there were no surprises. It was obvious who the murderer was, how the murder was done and what the motives were. So disappointing. On the other hand, you get Altman’s inimitable touches of reality twisted, so despite the obvious solution it’s a picture well worth seeing. And you never know, you might not think it all too obvious…

Adding to the disappointments, I finished listening to Ian Carmichael reading The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers yesterday. Delightfully read, Lord Peter was lovely company as usual and Sayers isn’t normally one to disappoint. But. I actually guessed at the “murder weapon” in the very first few chapters – granted, by the time the body was found I had forgotten about this (it was a few days later, my time). However, when the puzzle was almost solved but the weapon still a mystery, of course I remembered again. And it was so b****ing obvious! Fair enough, a little specialist knowledge helped, but I can’t believe that Lord Peter (who should, judging from the rest of the story, have more knowledge on the subject than me) would take weeks and even months to come up with the solution. In this case, then, as opposed to the others, the problem wasn’t so much that I guessed the solution, but that the sleuth didn’t. And in some ways I think that’s worse. I really do not want to be steps ahead of Lord Peter. Really.

All in all, as you see, I have been a bit too clever this Easter. Problem is, I don’t really think I’ve been too clever, I think the authors haven’t been clever enough. I still think I’ll read those other Nesbø books, though. And I’ve just started Lord Peter views the Body (same narrator), so I haven’t given up on him, either.