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I was excited about revisiting - in audio - a series of books which I have so enjoyed over the years. In one way, I was not disappointed, because the performance by Steve West is quite good, and all the quirky characters I remembered are still there. The aristocrats, the wannabes, the shop-and-bar keepers.
But, on the whole, these characters have not aged particularly well. Although the "pub" title trademark remains interesting, "Aunt Agatha" and "Melrose Plant" now seem more the copies from older British mysteries that they actually are. There's a dated, self-conscious feeling here that is not as apparent in the original, classic series of Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Marjorie Allingham and, to some extent, Agatha Christie.
Is it possible that American authors really can't quite capture the traditional, cozy British who-done-it? Maybe - and I think I'd rather just remember the Jury/Plant series as something I really liked 25 years ago. No need to revisit.
25 of 25 people found this review helpful
I've just finished listening to book 13, and I have absolutely loved every one so far! The recurring characters and the relationships between them are very entertaining and often hilarious. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys murder mysteries without all the stress.
The FYI part is this:
The first book in the series was published in 1981, and was contemporary fiction. Hard as it is for me to believe, 1981 was 33 years ago! I suspect, though, that the author never expected the series to take off and to still be writing the books all these years later. The main characters in the series are Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. I picture them in age as between 35-40. The thing is, I don't think they can ever get much older than that and have it all still work. However, time and technology continue to march on and, to keep the series contemporary, things like computers and cell phones have to come into play. Also, Jury having been a small child in WW2 was perfectly in line in 1981, but by now he would have to be elderly.
What I do is just mentally keep the characters in the same approximate age frame they started in, and ignore any references to the passage of time that the author inserts in the text. Just sort of let time and world events go by in the background, while the characters stay the same. There were enough comments in book 13 about the passage of time and people not changing after all these years, that I'm guessing the author was maybe poking a little fun at her predicament.
I'm awaiting the Audible release of the next book at the moment, but I hope that she hasn't done anything to blatantly age the characters in the rest of the books. I like things just the way they are. Once you know of and accept the time anomaly thing, it need not interfere with the enjoyment of the books. They are definitely worth a listen.
23 of 23 people found this review helpful