I seldom re-read mysteries, not because I don't want to but because I have too many unread books to read. But recently I decided I wanted to do a book to movie post on one of the episodes in the Midsomer Murders television series. Only five of the seven books in the Inspector Barnaby series by Caroline Graham were adapted for television. I picked the second book in the series, Death of a Hollow Man, because I knew how the first book ended. For this one, even though I had read the book, and watched the episode, I had forgotten the ending.
It surprised me how much I liked this book the second time around. I know I liked the series a lot when I read the books years ago, because once I had read the first two I purchased all of them and read them very shortly thereafter. I had forgotten the biting humor and the wonderful characterizations in the book. The stories seem like cozies (although by the some strict definitions a police procedural is not a cozy), but they are not even close in my opinion. Very fun, not thrillerish, but not cozy either.
It helped that the story is centered on the Causton Amateur Dramatic Society, since I have participated in such a group and know that the actors, directors, and even techies take the whole thing very seriously. It also helped that the play is Amadeus, which I know enough about so that the many players and their roles were not confusing. I also enjoyed reading about the main characters after having watched so many Midsomer Murders episodes.
Inspector Barnaby is such a wonderful character; I never grow tired of him, in a book or on the screen. He leads a normal home life (when he is there); his only demon is that he doesn't like his wife's cooking. He is a smart, insightful investigator, and knows how to handle Sergeant Troy, who is homophobic and boorish.
I will report on a comparison between the book and the TV episode in a future post. I am currently rereading Death in Disguise, the third book in the series. I picked up a copy at the book sale yesterday... a paperback edition with a lovely picture of the grim reaper on the cover. And I wanted to read it immediately, before I re-watch the episode. So I will be reviewing that book in the future too.
Publisher: William Morrow, 1990. Orig. pub. 1989.
Length: 268 pages
Format: Hardback, book club edition
Series: Chief Inspector Barnaby, #2
Genre: Police Procedural
Source: I purchased my copy.