Crime/mystery is a deceptively simple label we use but within it lies a multitude of sub-genres. Among them are ‘spy’, ‘courtroom’, ‘gory’ and what I call ‘gentle crime’.
Of course there has to a crime to solve but in ‘gentle crime’ the characters, places, mood and often humour are more important. Alexander McCall Smith is probably the best known in this area in recent times, writing with humour and great sense of humanity.
In Australia we have Kerry Greenwood with her wonderful Phryne Fisher series, now feauring on ABC TV.
Less well known, but just as good, are the Maisie Dobbs books by Jacqueline Winspear. They are set in England after WW1 and Maisie is a wonderful independent woman whose fiancee was killed in the War. There are now seven titles in this great series.
Now comes a new star in ‘gentle crime’! Felicity Young’s ‘A Dissection of Murder’ features Dr. Dody McLelland, England’s first female autopsy surgeon. Young evokes London of the early 1900’s wonderfully and Dody is a great character. My partner, Sue and Tim’s mother both loved this one! Pictured are Felicity, without the gun, and Phryne from the ABC TV series.