Saturday, November 7, 2015

A "Beautiful Mystery"

My husband and I have never had much time to read fiction, nor had the interest.  Lately, however,we have been quite faithfully following the adventures of Mr. Poirot, Agatha Christie's detective, on Netflix, a BBC Television series produced a couple of decades ago.

We love to watch it on the big screen TV, together, and comment on the English countryside, the manners, way of life, the villages, the British faces, the vintage vehicles, trains and airplanes, as well as the featured art of the period, the cities, the islands and seasides where Mr. Poirot vacations.  The episodes are not long and the murder mystery is always neatly solved in a reasonable amount of time.  Hence, one does not get involved with undisciplined binge watching, where a series goes on and on and the matter gets ever more confoundingly and irritatingly complex. Netflix has brought us many beautiful BBC--produced stories.

Talking about Agatha Christie, she was also the first author I read for pleasure when I first arrived in Canada.  Someone had suggested her to me, as a way to practice my English, and I read several of the books, then.  I read "Murder on the Nile" and such well-known stuff.

To be honest, I think I learned most of my English after I got married to an English speaker and from listening to CBC radio.  I have been faithful to CBC radio all the years.  The quality of the language spoken is high and the topics are engaging, even if one does not agree, as happens often.

While we are on murder-mysteries, after listening to the author speak on CBC radio, very recently, I also purchased my first Canadian crime story, "A Beautiful Mystery", by Louise Penny.  As we see from the cover, it made a Bestseller list.  Of course, I had never heard of it, until I listened to the interview with Mrs. Penny.  She spoke about life and her husband's illness, how she became a writer late in life, and how she believes in "good", how she liked C.S.Lewis and "Surprised by Joy".  Probably, it was the latter comment that made me try her out.

It was a gentle book and I was grateful for that.  It even seemed a bit poddlingly boring in the beginning.  So I took it to my bedside with me, for the case that I had trouble sleeping, and it might put me back to sleep.  That does not seem like much of a recommendation but I liked that aspect of it.  In the end, I would say, I recommend it for anyone who does not need the plot to be racing along at full clip all the time.

"The Beautiful Mystery" is set in a monastery in an isolated location in Quebec.  The psychology is interesting, the chief inspector admirable, the conflicts are mostly believable. The mystery wraps up with a satisfying and unique conclusion.

The "little grey cells" are being exercised, as Mr. Poirot would say.

After this, I am getting to the books by William Buckley which have made it to my house:  "God and Man at Yale" and "Miles Gone By".

Buckley, too, wrote some murder mysteries, but I doubt I will read any of them. --Or maybe one of them someday--could be fun, if we can get our hands on one...

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