Sunday, February 07, 2016

Beginning the beguine in stormy weather

As I'm picking up in Downton Abbey where I left off after I abandoned it (so I can finally get closure when the series ends), I'm reminded that several of my favorite mystery series have similar underlying themes, though they take place 10 years after the Crawleys' stories end.

Queen of Hearts and Malice at the Palace take our 34th-in-line-to-the-throne but living-near-poverty sleuth to Hollywood and a royal wedding, respectively. Whodunits and shenanigans ensue, of course. The regular international and glamorous cast miraculously assembles. She and her love interest finally make moves toward marriage, after getting secretly engaged three books ago and doing the will-we-or-won't-we dance since the series debut.  All good fun, and good mysteries.  I await the next installment eagerly, as always.

On a less hilarious note,  A Dangerous Place has heroine detective Maisie Dobbs solving a murder in Gibraltar. It took me several tries to actually get into this book, because after finally giving Maisie some happiness in the last book, Winspear goes and kills her husband in a flying accident, inducing a miscarriage for our protagonist who has already muddled through decades of suffering and personal misery since the Great War. And now in Book 11,  we're back to the incessant suffering and misery. Maisie decides to give herself some time off in order to cope with her recent tragedies. In Spain, during its civil war. With the possibility of another World War looming. There can be no silver lining in her life story, can there? Can there??? Because of course the murder she decides to solve to get her mind off her emotional state is itself fraught with emotional trauma for nations as well as individuals. It was well written as usual, but still depressing.

Back to Downton and its own set of miseries...

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