The fridge made her think about food. It ought to be time to eat something but her mealtimes were out of kilter and she wasn’t hungry yet. Instead, she bathed, changed from jeans, blouse and sweater into a vivid knitted dress, coloured tights and low blue shoes. Then she sat and read another chunk of the rector’s history of the village. When she judged she’d waited long enough, she set the book aside and picked up her shoulder bag. The day had been rather full of Robin Woodley already but she had to see him again…
[Later] Rain allowed good time for the General and his wife to be admitted. Then she left Withy Cottage. Her knitted dress and coloured shoes and tights would have to do. She had packed more formal clothes, because one never knew, but she had decided bridge with Peppy’s mistress hardly qualified for them.
observations: I recently wrote a piece for the Guardian about character names in books – the usual prejudiced rant, but one I feel strongly about. The topic put me in mind of this book, which is a good solid murder mystery from the 1980s, and not one deserving of much criticism. Except… the heroine’s name is Rain, and I really think if your protagonist is called Rain, you shouldn’t fill your book with rainfall – there is a huge amount of precipitation as the story unfolds. And I also think you ought to avoid the following sentences, all from the book:
Rain flushed the WC.
Raindrops were sighing down the wide chimney.
October was dying.
Rust was devouring a lorry parked inside and the area was littered with the debris of the trade.
I felt that October, Rain and Rust might be a sinister set of sisters. I also liked
The cistern flushed distantly-- as if ‘flushing distantly’ is something you do when you are embarrassed.
This is just me being mean-minded, because this is an entertaining book – now republished by those nice people at Ostara Crime. It is a traditional mystery with a real sense of the 1980s. Of course there are no mobile phones or Googling, but there isn’t even a photocopying machine in the newspaper office she visits, and she quaintly queues in the Post Office to buy writing paper and envelopes. (We used to use them to write letters, children). And gets clues there, see, she wouldn’t have got them if she’d been at home emailing.
And Grant-Adamson has a good eye for social exchanges – during a discussion of jogging:
Rain said: ‘A kind offer, but no thank you. I get as much exercise as I want in the morning just getting out of bed.’ She correctly judged that was just the sort of banal response that was required.And a good eye for 1980s clothes – her outfit above is perfect.
So ignore my pedantic name complaints: if you are looking for an enjoyable 1980s village murder mystery, this is the one to go for.