It’s already Saturday here in Australia. Over in England they’re doing the final checks for the coronation of King Charles III. It’s sure to be spectacular. The Poms do these gala events so very well – full of pomp and ceremony and steeped in history and tradition.
I suppose, in essence, I don’t entirely approve of monarchies. I know I’d find it difficult to bow (or worse, courtesy) to another human who is no better or worse than me, except for the accident of birth. But a monarchy – a constitutional monarchy – provides an anchor, if you will. It is a connection to the past which offers stability. Here in Oz we don’t have to contend with a four-yearly very, very expensive bun fight between a bunch of billionaires to select a president, nor do we have our head of state inflicted upon us by our parliament. And, of course, our titular head of state is a long way away. And doesn’t have much real power, anyway. Let’s face it, the prime minister is effectively our head of state.
I shall enjoy watching the coronation. I’ve always had a lot of time for Charles, who I feel inherited the crown whether he liked it or not. He loves plants and gardens, nature and sustainability. And he has a great sense of humour, enjoying the Goons and Monty Python. I wish him and Queen Camilla (who I also like) well. But I do wish he’d told that miserable little git to stay in California.
I’m saddened by the passing of Barry Humphries. There are no comedians out there willing to take on the establishment and our national sacred cows as he did. He was a friend of King Charles. This very short piece is one of my favourite Barry Humphries/Dame Edna/Charles moments.
I’ve been reading a few books lately, some of them quite entertaining, others not. If they don’t entertain they’re dismissed to the DNF (did not finish) file and are rarely mentioned again. It’s quite a high pile. But these I did finish.
A young woman is brutally attacked on her way home. It looks like she was the victim of a jilted — and twisted — ex-lover. But then two more women, also engaged to be married, are found dead. The press call the killer the ‘Surrey Stalker’. And there’s a stack of similar cold case files.
The pressure is on for young, ambitious DI Rob Miller. But with all the time he’s spending at the office, Rob’s also running a fine line trying to keep his fiancée, Yvette, onside as they try to plan their wedding . . .
I enjoyed the read. It’s a police procedural with enough twists and turns to keep me interested. The opening chapter is the killer doing his thing. I’m not a great fan of those sorts of openings even if they’re not gory (this one isn’t) but I suppose it helped to give some idea of who the cops were hunting. There are several short passages from his point of view, giving a clue to the man’s mindset during the hunt.
The next book is more of a cozy mystery, reminiscent of Father Brown, although the plot is rather better than most of those TV episodes.
Evan Evans, the new Constable of Llanfair, a village in North Wales, finds his everyday routine turned upside down by the return of a prodigal son with plans to build a tourist attraction, a divisive scheme that leads to a mysterious double homicide.
It’s the second in the Evan Evans series. I read the first one, Evans Above, a few weeks back – and wrote a review. The setting is a small Welsh village in the shadows of Mt Snowdon. Evan (Evans-the-Law) is the local village bobby and he knows everybody in the village. There’s Evans-the-milk (owns the dairy), Evans-the-post (the postman), Evans-the-meat (he’s the butcher), Roberts-the-pump (he owns the service station) and a host of others.
It’s fun to read about the happenings in the village – and then there are the two mysterious, apparently unrelated, deaths. Well worth a few hours of your time if you like that sort of thing.
The next one is another first in series, set in Portsmouth.
Meet Detective Inspector Andy Horton. It’s his second day back in Portsmouth’s CID and things aren’t going well.
DI Andy Horton is on his morning run along an isolated stretch of beach when he stumbles across a dead man. Stark naked and bludgeoned to death. Eight months ago, DI Horton’s life fell apart when he was suspended for misconduct. His wife kicked him out and stopped him seeing his daughter. The young woman who’d accused him went missing and the charges were dropped, but his personal and professional life are still in a mess.
And now it doesn’t look good for a detective under suspicion to be the one to find a dead body. His colleagues don’t want him on the case. But this murder will challenge Detective Horton in every single way. And when another body turns up with the same cause of death, Horton suspects he might be the next person in the killer’s sights.
This book kept me engaged the whole time. It’s yet another of those detective stories where the cop is in a lousy marriage. I wonder if any inspector apart from both Inspectors Barnaby in Midsomer Murders manage to have a healthy relationship. Whatever. It was a good read in a well-described setting. Worth your time.
That’s it for this week. Autumn has finally arrived. I’m sitting at my computer wearing jeans and the fans have been switched off. I love this time of year. We might even go to the beach for a much-needed walk.