Tuesday 14 August 2007

Poetry and Murder

Finished August 10
A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil by Christopher Brookmyre
This was a new author for me, and I really enjoyed it. The principal characters in the tale are from a town outside Glasgow, Braeside. As the story begins, two men are working at getting rid of two bodies. Unfortunately, they are not very successful. When the bodies are soon discovered, the men are immediately linked to them. This is where the complications start.
Karen Gillespie, the local Detective Superintendent, has only recently returned to Braeside. It turns out one of the dead men was a classmate of her, Colin Temple. The two men suspected of being involved are two more classmates, known as Noodsy and Turbo.
From here on the book moves back and forth between the investigation and the classmates school experiences. This is a very interesting way of having us learn about the people involved and gradually come to realize all the different relationships and loyalties. This is also how we come to know the real names of Noodsy and Turbo as we learn the circumstances of the granting of these nicknames. There is much humour here, right from the first page, and the author provides a glossary at the end for some of the Scottish slang terms used by the characters. I loved it.

Collected Poems by John Betjeman
I have always liked Betjeman's poems and became more interested in him years ago after reading a memoir by his granddaughter of her grandmother. This collection shows the progression of his work, and led me to discover some new favourites in addition to the ones I already liked. Whether talking about people, nature or life, Betjeman's poetry rings true and does not sound analytic.

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