Monday, May 16, 2011

Enquiry, by Dick Francis


A decent enough mystery. On the plus side, the villains are more normal, and are driven by largely normal motives (albeit normal motives inflated and aggravated to abnormal levels). Francis can sometimes fall into the habit of resolving his stories with the rather lazy trope of "a crazy psychotic madman did it!" It's much more compelling when the perpetrator is a largely normal neighbor, driven by commonplace motives. As a reader, I prefer stories that remind me that I am not so different from these villains . . . that the distance between us is not as far as I might like to think. I struggle with jealousy. I struggle with anger, or guilt, or fear. And I have friends who do as well. We all of us are not as far removed from villainy as we like to think.

Still, this particular story was not as compelling as others he's written. The solution seemed to come too quickly, and there was no real a-HA! moment. The villain, though normal, was not terribly surprising. Francis focused more on the relationships in this story, particularly the romantic relationships, which was nice (and well done). An enjoyable read, but not his best.

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