Saturday, 18 April 2015

52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge - Week 15

And yet another week has rolled around, and I was right in my prediction. I began my planned novel, "Nora Webster" by acclaimed Irish author Colm Toibin, but haven't finished it. Not because it was too difficult, not because it is too long, it is neither difficult nor long, I just haven't had enough time. I have been up against it, busy working and finishing my ukminiswapquilt, which should have been posted yesterday. However, I did read and finish "Death Is A Word" by Hazel Holt.


Hazel Holt is a long established author, not a world famous author by any stretch, but an accomplished author in her own field. And, guess what? Her field is crime, cosy crime, or as they say in America, cozy crime. She is most famous for her Sheila Malory novels and "Death Is A Word" is to be her last. I was gutted at that, I have read them all and loved them all. But ... when you consider that Hazel Holt was born in 1928, making her 87 years of age, I suppose she is entitled to take things a little easier. Having read this, I expected the story to end with a bang, that Sheila would retire to the south of France, or even worse, be killed off. Neither happened, the mystery ended as all other Sheila Malory mysteries ended, with the end of the story. Only the by line on the front cover told me this was the last in the series.

The story was a strong in its storyline as all the others. Sheila lives in a small village and has a friend called Rosemary. A murder or suspect death occurs in the village. Sheila, in her own gentle way, sets about solving the murder. Quietly and without any great fanfare. However, maybe it is time for these stories to end. The stories are rather home counties, a little like the Archers on BBC radio 4 used to be. The characters in Sheila's village are white, middle class, lawyers, doctors, retired. The people have careers, not jobs. There is a great community spirit, mostly around the local hall run by the indomitable Anthea and Derek. Like the other bit players they too are white and middleclass. But this is what makes the stories so readable, what you see is what you get. No surprises, an England of the past. Although two of the characters in this novel are gay, they are slightly set aside from the others.
Rosemary's mother is a snob and Hazel Holt gently pokes fun at this. Perhaps it is time for this to gently end. I will mourn its passing though and will undoubtedly re read them in the future.

Next week will really be the turn of Colm Toibin, I am at page 65 of 310. So hopeful of a finish.

Helen x

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