As previously discussed, I love a good mystery. They are my escapist reading – and who can’t use more of that? Also, they are clearly the answer to my “I’m behind in my reading” woes. I can read a mystery in a day or two. More serious stuff, not so much.

Most recently, I read Death of a Gentle Lady by M.C. Beaton. This was the 24th (!) book in the Hamish Macbeth series, one of three series that I read by Beaton (one is written under another name). The MacBeth books are all set in the Scottish highlands and revolve around the village policeman (the aforementioned Hamish Macbeth). They are formulaic: an outsider – with some character flaw – moves to Lochdubh (the village) or it’s surrounding. They get themselves murdered. MacBeth solves the crime, much to the consternation of one of his higher ups who hates him and is always trying to close down his police station. In this case, formulaic is not a criticism. It’s a comfort. Sometimes it’s nice to read something that is familiar. And because the writing and characters are enjoyable, I never find the books boring. Just a pleasant way to spend an evening.

I also recently finished T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton, the 20th book in her alphabet series. I have been reading this series since I was in high school. Possibly even junior high, which is sort of amazing if you think about it. Even more amazing is the fact that I still like them. Sometimes series lose their steam, but the authors keep writing anyway. I feel that way about Patricia Cornwell’s books now – I loved the Kay Scarpetta mysteries to begin with, but now they are just BAD. So kudos to Grafton for still writing a well crafted, enjoyable series mystery so many years down the line. I’m happy to keep reading.

Now if a few more of my favorite authors could just add another mystery to their series this year, I’d achieve my 2008 goal of averaging a book a week in no time.


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