In which I thoroughly enjoy a very traditional mystery by Colin Watson, and only work out after I finish that it was written when my dad was still in his teens. I mean, yes, I realised it was set then, and the language was old-fashioned, but that’s kind of fashionable in some of the modern books I’ve read, so…
This was a recommendation from my lovely writer friend Jon, whose stories you can find over on WattPad. We share a certain affection for puns, wordplay, and traditional mysteries, and after watching my chat about Inspector Hobbes and fun mystery reads, he suggested that I might enjoy Colin Watson’s Flaxborough series.
He was quite right.
DI Walter Purbright is an unfailingly polite and apologetic detective, who picks his way through the mystery without any fuss or panic, or indeed coming to blows with anyone. Plus there are plenty of sly little asides and fun wordplays that had me giggling, which is my kind of mystery. Hold the gore, heavy on the puns, thanks.
It is an old-fashioned series (obviously), and it’s not at all chock full of action or excitement. But it’s a good mystery, an easy read, and a lovely way to step into a quieter time. I’ll definitely be picking up some more in the series, if only to find out if the Chief Constable actually survives real investigations occurring in his town. He doesn’t seem quite prepared for it.
How about you, lovely people? Have you read any Colin Watson? Do you enjoy a good traditional mystery? What other authors would you recommend to me (because the many, many titles in this series are apparently not enough)?