Saturday, June 5, 2010

It’s a Mystery

It’s summer and I feel like binging on mystery novels. I’d like to pick an author and read all of his/her books straight through, like I did with Laura Lippman’s books. I guess I need to check The List. But ideas are welcome from commenters or emailers.

While I’m thinking mysteries, Simon Hoggart, in The Guardian is collecting television detective show cliches. I love television detective shows and partly because they are so full of cliches:

Your detective show cliches continue to pour in. A couple of my own: when a detective is watching the TV report of his case, he invariably snaps the set off midway through, even though you'd think it would be vital to know what the public was being told. If someone has just been interviewed, and the camera lingers on the back of his head as he watches the detective walk back to his car, he or she did it.

Terry O'Hara asks why, when a suspect is being interviewed at the station, there is always a uniformed officer waiting at the door. "This has never happened during my 28 years in the police."

WM Stack of Norwich points out that anyone who walks alone at night with blue floodlights behind the trees is a goner, just like anyone filmed through their kitchen window making a bedtime cup of cocoa. It's nearly always fatal to have a housekeeper, whose job it is to stumble on their employer's stiff, cold body, and scream.

Frank Desmond points out that anyone who coughs, however gently, is for it later on. Likewise anybody foolish enough to show people pictures of his loved ones.

Bruce Antell points out that if someone says something like, "Hello, what are on earth you doing here?" without using the name, he or she is about to be murdered by the unnamed visitor.

Eamonn Burgess says that whenever an underling is spooling through hours of CCTV footage, the boss always walks by at exactly the right moment: "Hey, wait a minute, go back – yes, him! That's our man!"

I think my subconscious is keeping me from having a housekeeper. Well, that and my budget.