The classic image of the crime novel, fostered by endless Miss Marple adaptations on television, is of murder in a quiet village setting. No body actually writes books like that any more, but Graham has taken the format and subverted it. As the subtitle "An English Village Whodunnit" on the first, The Killings at Badgerís Drift, might suggest, her crime novels have all the traditional trappings: a village set in , a dullish investigator in Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby, a shoal of red herrings, and a devious dénouement. But the author constantly confounds predictable expectations. Much nastier things are found in the woodshed than ever would be in the sedate world of Agatha Christie. A recent lumpen TV adaptation may have lost much of Grahamís irony, but should still have brought her books to a much wider readership.
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