Well my conference is done, a week’s worth done, and I finally got to finish Carola Dunn’s, Cornish mystery, A Colourful Death. It was tough. The conference was on Intergroup Dialogue and lest you think me insane, I must tell you that is was the best organized and most useful conference I’ve ever attended. I learned a lot. I also made the mistake of commuting which was a problem on two counts, no one to process with at the end of the day and an hour and a half commute either way. By the time I got home at night I was too tired to read and that almost never happens.
That being said, I must disclose, I like English cozies, and this is an English cozy. Eleanor Trewynn, the protagonist, has traveled and seen the world under less than privileged circumstances so she has a realistic perspective about people and life, not a dark perspective, just realistic. She is willing to believe well of others but doesn’t seem surprised when they misbehave.
This is the second in what I hope is a series of Cornish Mysteries. (I have now put Cornwall higher on my list of PLACES TO GO. It has always been up there, along with Wales, but so far, when I get to that neck of the woods,water(?), I get stuck in Scotland or Ireland or Canterbury.) I will be purchasing the first in the series when I venture out of the cornfield this week but there is just enough back story in Colourful Death that you understand the relationships between the characters (and don’t ruin the unread stories for yourself.)
Death is Colourful in this story because it involves artists and art and a body lying in a shockingly red pool of … well what is a body usually lying in? Ms Dunn introduces the drama of unrelated people living and working together in a communal setting when one of their own is murdered. Eleanor’s niece becomes involved when the police division she works in is brought in on the crime and the tension between the professionals and amateurs (Eleanor and company) never gets beyond levels of believability.
There was one note of discord for me, but it is more of a social question and verges into the reality/unreality of story telling. Part of the storyline deals with difficulties Megan Pencarrow, Eleanor’s niece, faces in being a woman in the Cornish police force. I kept wondering if the level of the problems faced by DS Pencarrow was a current reality or a literary reality. I guess I’ll just have to do some research.
The killer became apparent to me fairly early on but the how, and the why, that was not so easy to adduce. Ms Dunn laid a trail to follow but always stayed at least one step ahead, which is the difference between a book one doesn’t want to put down, no matter how good the conference you are attending is, and a book you close easily and finally.
I’m off in search of Manna from Hades, the first book in the series. Dare I hope the manna is spicy, given the geography? Then, I think I will start in on the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries and see how I like them.