I do not know if any of you have ever been sat flicking through the TV channels of a Sunday evening, found nothing on, and so resorted to Midsomer Murders? Well this is one of the series of books that the programme is based on. I found this in a bargain bath (yes it was an actual bath filled with books) in San Francisco, being sold at the great price of three books for $5. I am quite partial to a bit of Midsomer Murders now and again, so felt like I had to give it a try.
Ways that the book is similar to the TV series: It features a detective inspector called Barnaby and his sergeant Troy, at least one person gets murdered, Barnaby’s family are all popping in and out of the narrative, you have to get at least a third of the way through before someone is murdered or we meet the crime-fighting duo.
Ways that the book differs from the TV series: the characters of Barnaby and Troy.
I just cannot get over especially how different Troy is in the book compared to the ITV series. True, he keeps being replaced by generically named assistants, but the original was definitely different. Book Troy has a bit more depth to him, and that depth entails misogyny, an authority complex and general hatred of the affluent or intelligent classes. This may not have made such light viewing for TV audiences. Barnaby too is more refined and slightly more ‘Morse-esque’ in his work, but I cannot help but picture him as the grumpy John Nettles character so this was not as much of an abrupt change.
Regardless of TV comparisons this book has a sort of dry humour that I often see in long running British authors (see Terry Pratchett). As we are introduced to each of the starring characters of this particular murder, an observational and ironical description is attached to each. Death in Disguise is chiefly set in a commune in a traditionally-minded sleepy village in Midsomer, and features a whole host of zany and selfish inhabitants, as well as a fair amount of unrequited love.
I recommend this chiefly as a holiday read, being relatively light and easy to read but gripping enough to make it hard to put down at times.