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A pleasant way to pass the time
on 11 September 2011
It's always difficult deciding what to read next after a particularly absorbing book. I find it impossible to plunge straight into another book of the same genre, and if a book is particularly haunting or emotionally draining, it can be hard to read anything at all. So I have a reserve of formulaic books that are gently easy to read - rather like the sorbet to clear the palette between courses, they are insubstantial and easy to digest.
Wycliffe books fall into this category. Every one follows the same pattern. There's a murder, and a group of eccentric suspects with mysterious and devious pasts to be uncovered, and a morose but persistent detective who gradually pieces it all together (but not before the reader, hopefully). It's all rather charming and cosy. There are more than twenty Wycliffe stories, all set in Cornwall.
This particular one is a follow-on to 'Wycliffe and the Quiet Virgin', in that some of the characters from that one reappear here, but it isn't at all necessary to have read the earlier book first (although it would be odd to read it afterwards, since this book gives away key aspects of the plot). This isn't a demanding read (one of the big mysteries was, I thought, blindingly obvious) and the big reveal of whodunnit is quite simplistic, but nevertheless it whiled away a few hours very pleasantly. Not great literature, but then it has no pretensions to be. If they were a little cheaper, I would probably buy the whole lot.