A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
One of the best discoveries I made in 2007 was the novels of Jo Bannister. Her mysteries don’t have the flash of Evanovich, the repartee of Parker, they are watercolors done in shades of grey and more satisfying than either of those aforementioned authors. Set in a run-down English seaside town, they concern Brodie Farrell, whose finding agency “Looking For Something?” serves as a springboard for the plots, Jack Deacon, the local detective and Daniel- tutor, amateur astronomer and almost unworldly moral person. He’s quite appealing, being in the mold of Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin. Brodie’s tractor loving young daughter, Paddy, their Polish neighbor, Marta and Sergeant Voss complete the cast of regulars.
The mysteries are complex and often become excruciatingly suspenseful, with a lot of insight into the dark side of human behavior. They are not action packed with gunplay and car chases, but ordinary situations that go wrong, which makes them far more realistic than any television crime show. The atmosphere is a touch gloomy, but not pessimistic, one can smell the sea air, see the rotted fishing nets and hear the noise of gulls; the settings are so vivid. Though there’s an awful lot of murders for such a small town, half the population must’ve been killed off by now. Regardless, anyone looking for intelligent writing with intriguing, slightly eccentric characters ought to sample Bannister’s mysteries, beginning with Echoes of Lies, the first in the series.
Alison and Busby 2002 276 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0749005733