Last week I was watching a programme about crime novels on ITV3 and a guest who frequently appears on these types of shows is the crime writer Martina Cole. Cole specialises in quite gritty east end style crime thrillers and despite looking at the covers occasionally and thinking ‘that sounds interesting’ I have never actually read one of her books. Therefore, by the magic of the Kindle, I purchased The Ladykiller for 99p and settled myself down for a murder spree.
George is a quiet, meek and mild man in his 50s, suppressed by his overbearing wife and plodding along in a dead end job he appears to loathe. He comes across as boringly ordinary man, until one night he goes out, hides in the woods and brutally and sadistically rapes and murders a young mother of three. Soon the body count is rising, including the daughter of a local ‘gangsta’ and DI Kate Burrows is under pressure to catch the criminal, preferably before anyone else gets their hands on him.
It has been a long time since I have read a crime novel where we already know who the murder is, instead it is just a case of ‘when/if they will be caught’. Despite enjoying the book, I personally prefer the cosy ‘whodunit’ style of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayer et al. I like the challenge of attempting, and nearly always failing, to catch the suspect before the detective does. I did enjoy The Ladykiller and it was a good holiday read, but I did begin to get frustrated after a while. I do not doubt that Cole knows her stuff when it comes to crime novels, but it felt there were just too many separate things going on as well as the crimes themselves. I liked how some chapters looked at George’s childhood and I can see the benefits of dissecting the past to develop an understanding as to why people commit such horrific crimes, but did I really need a psychological profile of some of the minor characters as well? By the end of the novel I was beginning to get equally frustrated with the overuse of similes on what felt like each and every page, so I was glad when I finally reached the end on the plane home on Monday.
I completely appreciate why Cole is a best seller in terms of crime fiction, however her style isn’t quite for me, give me a cosy crime read anyday! However it was a fairly easy read for my holiday which I guess is just what I wanted.
On a separate note, how much do I LOVE my kindle! It took me a long time to warm to Kindles and I did the typical ‘what about real books/bookshops/libraries?’ Style questioning and then I asked for one for Christmas a few years ago. Owning a kindle has certainly not stopped me from buying many books, but it is great when you just get the urge to read a book you don’t own in the middle of night or when you are in one place and your book case is elsewhere. It is also FANTASTIC for holidays! I spent the first part of my half term in Malta with friends and the weather was beautiful, just hot enough to comfortably sunbathe, which is where the Kindle comes in. Malta does not boast many sandy beaches; it is a rocky coastline and sunbathing on rocks is a challenge. However the kindle made this easier as I could just hold it in one hand and comfortably stay in one place on the rock like a lizard basking in the sunshine. And as I flew on a very cheap airline, I could only take hand luggage so the less space used by weighty tomes the better.
My trip to Malta has also inspired my current read as part of series one of Game of Thrones is filmed in the city of Mdina. Yes, it is only a tiny part of the series (the gates into King’s Landing and a whore house) but that is beside the point.