Review: The Killings at Badger’s Drift by Caroline Graham

Format read: paperback checked out from the library
Formats available: paperback, hardcover
Genre: Mystery
Series: Chief Inspector Barnaby #1
Length: 252 pages
Publisher: Felony & Mayhem Press
Date Released: June 2005 (reprint edition)
Purchasing Info: Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Badger’s Drift is the ideal English village, complete with vicar, bumbling local doctor, and kindly spinster with a nice line in homemade cookies. But when the spinster dies suddenly, her best friend kicks up an unseemly fuss, loud enough to attract the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. And when Barnaby and his eager-beaver deputy start poking around, they uncover a swamp of ugly scandals and long-suppressed resentments seething below the picture-postcard prettiness.

True confession, totally appropriate since this is a murder mystery. I picked up The Killings at Badger’s Drift because we’re watching Midsomer Murders. I’m enjoying the show so much that I wanted to read the original.

But that means it’s not quite fair to judge the mystery on how well the author kept me from figuring out “whodunnit” because I already knew perfectly well who did it. I’d just watched it!

And I still enjoyed every page of the story, even knowing how it was going to end. More or less. The show and the book are not quite the same.

The Chief Inspector Barnaby series are murder mysteries of the police procedural type. But the difference is the setting–a fictional English rural county with an unusually high homicide rate. The contrast between the peaceful setting and grisly murders always chills.

Badger’s Drift was the first book in the series, and the first program in the television series as well. The personalities of the two detectives is slightly different between the show and the book, but the relationship is similar. The senior partner directing the investigation and mentoring the junior. Barnaby makes intuitive leaps based on experience and knowledge of human nature, where Troy makes assumptions.

The series of crimes still chills, just as much in print as it did onscreen. A retired schoolteacher sees a couple having sex in the woods outside of the town of Badger’s Drift. That night, she dies, presumably of natural causes. After all, she was over 80.

But her friend believes otherwise, and convinces Barnaby to investigate. By opening his investigation, secrets are revealed, lives are ruined, and more people are murdered.

The truth comes out. Justice is served.

Escape Rating A: It’s been said that mystery fiction is about the romance of justice, and that’s what readers come back for. In a small village like Badger’s Drift, everyone knows everyone’s secrets, or so they think. A murder puts everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets on display, there is no privacy from a police inquiry.

Barnaby keeps digging. His thought processes are on display more in the book. People who do things that are out of character make him investigate. Two sudden deaths within the same group of people make him suspicious. He’s a good cop.

I’m glad I started reading the books. I’m just sorry there are so few of them. So I’m lucky there are so many episodes of the series on TV!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 1-13-13

Does that date look weird to anyone else? I think it’s the 13-13 that threw me for a loop.

Talk about being thrown for a loop…we just moved to Seattle from Atlanta, and, the Seattle Seahawks are playing the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC playoffs, today. As I’m writing this, the Seahawks just pulled ahead by one point, and there’s only 25 seconds left in the game. I’m afraid to watch.

Since everyone at work knows I just moved here from Atlanta, I’ve had way too many conversations at work explaining that I’m NOT rooting for the Falcons. No way. Now if the Cincinnati Bengals were still in it, we might have to talk, but it takes a lot longer than 18 months to get a piece of my heart. Which means I also still root for the Chicago Bears. (I lived in Chicago a long, long time)

And oh crap, the Falcons are in Field Goal range. And they made it. Damn it. I don’t think there’s going to be any joy in Mudville tonight. Mighty Casey just struck out. (Yes, I totally mixed my sports metaphors.)

The Seahawks may have just lost their playoff berth, but there was a winner here at Reading Reality. Tin Ong won the $10 Amazon Gift Card in the New Year’s Blog Hop this week!

Besides the last gasp of that New Year’s Blog Hop, what else happened last week?

B Review: Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning
B+ Review: Perfection Unleashed by Jade Kerrion
Interview with Jade Kerrion + Giveaway!
B Review: Immortally Yours by Angie Fox
B+ Review: Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
C- Review: Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning
Stacking the Shelves (30)

There’s a new week coming up, which means new treats for everyone!

On Monday I’ll be reviewing Tiffany Allee’s new superhero romance, Heels & Heroes. Let’s just say that the “Heels” involved in the title are the fashionable kind, but that the “Heroes” in the title are both super and yummy. As part of the tour for this book, Tiffany is giving away 3 copies.

Tuesday I’ll have a guest post from Blair McDowell, as part of her tour for her latest romance/suspense title, Sonata. I always love seeing Blair’s books come up on tour, because I enjoy her work so much, and Sonata was no except. I’ll have a review on Tuesday, and Blair will also have a giveaway.

Wednesday and Thursday I’m reviewing Olivia Cunning’s Double Time and Elisabeth Staab’s King of Darkness. Completist me, both of those reviews (as well as last week’s Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy) were to get ready to review the latest books in those series. On Thursday at Book Lovers Inc. I’ll be reviewing Elisabeth Staab’s Prince of Power, if you want to “collect the set” for yourself.

Friday’s review is a treat for me. I’m reviewing The Killings at Badger’s Drift. It’s the first in  Caroline Graham’s Chief Inspector Barnaby series. I’ve enjoyed Midsomer Murders so much, that I couldn’t resist reading the books. And sharing them.

Last, but very definitely not least, the Happy Endings Blog Hop starts on Saturday, January 19. It will certainly be a Happy Ending for the winners of all the lovely bookish prizes at the hop participants!

And the week after next will be another busy week! I’ll be hosting tours for Waterfall by Lacy Danes, Nobody’s Angel by Stacy Gail and The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy. With giveaways!

Who said cats and water don’t mix?