I’m a fan of British “cosy” mystery television shows. You know the sort – like Midsomer Murders, Inspector George Gently… even The Inspector Lynley Mysteries get a run even though the main character is a pretentious prick.
Each show has its own kind of theme that endears us to the heroic pursuit of Bad People. Midsomer Murders is set in the modern day and yet at the same time is still adamant that the last fifty years has never happened. Britain is all just rolling green fields and peaceful villages where the vicar regularly flogs people to death with a golf club, people get poisoned by the baker and the local tart always gets what’s coming to her. Most of the crimes are solved by an illuminating pint of bitter followed by a chase scene through cow shit – with the coppers are wearing expensive shoes. That’s a bit weird – if you were a country detective you wouldn’t go solving murders in your best Barker Blacks, right? (Don’t worry, I had to Google a stupidly expensive shoe brand). You’d get a pair of Rossi’s or something.
Inspector George Gently offers a different approach to solving crime. Here our heroes use a unique method of chain-smoking any suspects into confessing. Forget water-boarding, hitting criminals with a phone book or your basic arm-twisting. The detectives in IGG just keep lighting up fags until the criminals, in a desperate bid to escape the interview room and avoid contracting Cancer Of Everything, confess to anything visible on the whiteboard.
It’s all good, harmless fun – apart from the murders, robberies, rapists and such, of course.
But I just don’t get “Vera”. If you haven’t seen it, Vera is a middle-aged (in fact, kind of on the wrong side of middle-aged really) Detective Inspector who solves crimes by just being fucking angry. She’s fucking angry about everything. The fucking whiteboard, the fucking forensics, the other fucking detectives, the fucking crime, the fucking evidence, the fucking cup of tea some incompetent fucker has made for her… I suspect the scriptwriter is in a really, really bad marriage. Apparently Brenda Blethyn (Vera) is an award-winning actress… must have been the UK Fucking Angry Awards or something. And while I get that maybe the producers of the show wanted to create the antithesis of your usual suave, somehow-flawed-but-we-don’t-mind, Pierce Brosnan-type of detective, it feels like they took it too far (maybe that’s why Vera’s so fucking angry?). Because it’s just too hard to imagine Vera is really a hard-nosed copper instead the cleaning woman who wandered onto the film set by accident. Then again, I suppose Miss Marple was hardly Catwoman…
Oh well, maybe a new series of Midsomer Murders is on the way? It’s got a cute, fluffy dog – and DCI Tom Barnaby’s wife is way easier on the eyes than her predecessor, who looked like an upside-down floor mop wearing cheap jeans. They’ve introduced a damned baby in the last series, but maybe it can get murdered in the first episode or something? Keep things uncomplicated and stick to dogs.
In the meantime I don’t have anyone quite so fucking angry in any of my novels. Upset, perhaps… and Lukas Boston’s neighbour is permanently disappointed in Lukas (actually, I’ve just realised that Vera resembles my fictional Irene a bit). The good news is that lots of people get murdered, abducted and robbed – the same kind of good, clean fun mentioned above.
Twice As Dead is still absolutely free on the Amazon US and Amazon UK sites. On other Amazon sites it might still cost you, because Amazon is crap at matching its own prices. You can send ’em an email and whinge – and they’ll fix it (I can’t, being the author… it’s complicated). If you get it and like the story, post a review will you? Reviews are the lifeblood of ebook authors.