Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Christian Murder of Identity?

Murder of Identity was my first encounter with detective Ellie Quicke. She comes from the tradition of 'cosy English murder mysteries', although set in more recent times. I'm never sure about the word 'cosy' in this context, I mean it's a bit of a patronising and fluffy word, somehow. Not to mention, it seems a contradiction in terms: murder=cosy?! But then again, detective fiction is about puzzles and resolutions, and that is comforting: there's always an answer (unless we're subverting the genre).

Ellie's teetering on the verge of being too good to be true, but not quite over the edge: she's quite likeable and credible, with mild resentments and many pressures & worries. She's a middle-aged Christian, active in the community who does a lot for others and is rather taken for granted.

I found her Christianity interesting and unexpected. Interesting, because an aspiring author-friend has expressed concern that her fiction wouldn't appeal to secular or Christian publishing houses because she feels it falls somewhere in between. Ellie Quicke's Christianity is just a facet of her character: but during the novel, she often prays, she attends church, she helps out at the church. It's not explored as a major part of the story, but it is an integral part of the character. I'm not sure how much that would help my friend, but it certainly suggests to me that the market for her work need not be crowbarred into explicitly Christian publishing houses.

One thing I wasn't so keen on was the forays into the murderer's mind, which seemed contrary to the 'cosy murder mystery' feel of the book and a bit Ruth Rendell (is that who I'm thinking of?). I didn't feel they worked. Aside from that, it was an enjoyable read, nothing extraordinary but well enough. Did what it said on the tin, as it were.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, interesting. Abster x

I write no more but I still dream! As it says in some obscure song we got from Steve at college.

Mephitis said...

Oh sorry to hear it. Well, mebbe some day the muse will take over again. :)