Faithful Unto Death by Caroline Graham

 

Faithful Unto Death (Misomer Murders -€¦Faithful Unto Death by Caroline Graham is a Midsomer Murder Mystery. I’ve enjoyed watching the TV series over the years. Midsomer is obviously a dangerous place to live with all those murders happening so regularly, but they are not the gory kind – it’s murder of a sanitised nature. Inspector Barnaby is a genial character, although an astute detective, one who is not quite up to date with modern police methods but relies on intuition and thinking.

So I was a bit surprised reading this book that the characters are a bit different, especially Sergeant Troy who is nothing like the TV character. On TV Troy was a bit naive and usually didn’t have much of a clue about solving the murders, but a likeable chap who got on OK with Barnaby. Troy in the book is sharper, meaner, spiteful and inwardly critical of Barnaby. He’s insecure, resentful and sees any creative or intellectual prowess in others as a criticism of his own life.

Set in Fawcett Green, an unspoilt peaceful village the book begins with the disappearance of Simone Hollingsworth, soon followed by her distraught husband’s death, apparently suicide, then the disappearance of their neighbour’s daughter. Barnaby and Troy, with the doubtful assistance of the local policeman Constable Perrot work their way through interviewing the village’s inhabitants and gradually unravel the mystery.

It’s an entertaining and satisfying book, full of detail and clues as to the eventual outcome, which I did work out before the end. The characters stand out as real people, and are described with humour and empathy. I don’t remember seeing this on TV but reading about it online it seems it’s differed from the book, so that’s not too surprising. As in the TV version Barnaby is a patient, tolerant man,  also a bit grumpy and moody, who is trying and failing to lose weight, and who loves music. So many fictional detectives seem to like music and food!

This is the first Midsomer Murder mystery I’ve read and much as I like the TV series I prefer the book version – it has more bite and more substance. I’m taking part in the Cozy Mystery Challenge and although I’m still not too sure about the classification of “cozy” murder mysteries, I think this book can count as one.

8 thoughts on “Faithful Unto Death by Caroline Graham”

  1. Margaret – I thoroughly enjoyed Caroline Graham’s Inspector Barnaby series, so I’m very glad you’ve been reading them. I liked Faithful Unto Death , and I hope you’ll read the others. In my opinion, one gets a much better idea of Barnaby’s family, and some other interesting backstory, if one reads the series from the beginning. Of course, maybe it’s because I liked The Killings at Badger’s Drift, too…

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  2. I agree that Midsomer Murders count as cozy mystery.

    I have read two of the books, but in Danish, and they were a bit bland and disappointing. I may buy one of them in English for my last cozy mystery, however, as the translation may not have been first class.

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  3. Margaret, I have realy enjoyed the TV show about Midsomer Murders. Well, as many as have come out over here in any case. I think we are up to 2007 or something. Anyway, I keep meaning to read the books. I’m glad you posted about this and I’m interested to read about the characters as the author portrayed them. I can separate them in my mind from the TV show I think. I’ve done pretty well with that when I think about Inspector Lynley (who doesn’t look at all like he is in the book) and Barbara Havers (who is way too stylish in the TV series).

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  4. I find that once I’ve formed an image of characters and their world in my head through watching the television drama series it is more difficult to go to the book. I’ve never read Caroline Graham’s Midsomer Murders or Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series. However, it would be interesting to read the novels to get detail that only the written word can supply.
    I’m glad that there are other writer’s of crime that I’ve read before
    or alongside these enjoyable small screen versions such as Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse, P.D. James’ Commander Dalgleish and Ruth Rendall’s DCI Wexford. I’ve been reading Henning Mankell’s Wallander novels but, again, it is the recent interpretation for television that is fixed in my mind. However, I’m currently reading Mankell’s latest, The Man from Beijing, featuring a judge Birgitta Roslin. The description of place is excellent and I’m pleased that I’m reading ahead of any future television adaptation.
    As a contrast, I hope to read an Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayer for the ‘cozy’ classics Circuit.

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  5. I have just finished my first Caroline Graham, “Ghost in the Machine” and am absolutely smitten with Barnaby, but even more with the richly drawn characters of Kate, Mallory, Benny, Doris, Dennis…et al. Graham’s wonderful writing reminds me of Elizabeth Goudge, who also wrote so intimately of her characters. I also felt that there must be more to the story – the ‘Afterwards’ didn’t really wrap up Roy and Karen., and left Ash & Judith dangling. ` It seemed that we would find out more in the next book. But it’s been 6 years! Was Ghost the end of Barnaby? Is Graham still writing?

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