Friday, July 31, 2015

Short Notes: The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham




Retried school teacher Emily Simpson and her friend Lucy Bellinger, both denizens of a village called Badger's Drift, have an unspoken competition going on between them as to who would first spot a rare variety of orchid. While walking through the woods one day, Emily spots the orchids and is most ecstatic. However, she also stumbles upon a couple making love out in the open. Desperate to get away, she looses her footing and thus reveals her presence to them.

The next day, she is found dead. Nobody has any suspicions but her friend Lucy Bellinger insists that her friend was murdered. Her insistence brings Chief Inspector Thomas Barnaby and Sergeant Gavin Troy to the scene. More killings follow. Slowly, the facts emerge and the killer is revealed.



Sex lies like a miasma over the entire village and novel. Every one, it seems, has only one thing in mind. No relationship is sacred. Trust and loyalty are things of the past. What then is the appeal of the book? To me, it was the strained relationship between the two policemen. While Barnaby is a (thankfully) non-demon-ridden policeman, it is his Sergeant's thoughts on the privileged class, and homosexuals that I found humorous, especially as they revealed so much about him. Till the time when Troy remarked (regarding a gay character) that such people ought to be castrated. And then it wasn't funny anymore as it brought to my mind the tragic story of the cryptographer Alan Turing.

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First Line: She had been walking in the woods  just before teatime when she saw them.

Series: Inspector Barnaby #1
Publishing Details: NY: Avon. 1989
First Published: 1987
Pages: 260
Source: Open Library
Trivia: The book has been made into a TV drama.

Other books read of the same author: None

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Submitted for the Crimes of the century meme @ Past Offences. July's year was 1987.

8 comments:

  1. Interesting that you mention Troy, Neeru. He does do a little growing up as the series goes on, but you're right that he's got a bit of an unpleasant bent to his humour here. I love the character of Barnaby for just the reason you mention. He's a mature, happily-married, functional detective. If you read more in this series, I'll be keen to know what you think.

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    1. Margot, I am glad that Troy does mature as the series progresses. I like the idea of growth in a series. To me, the relationship b/w the two police officers was the most interesting part of the book and am keen to read more of the series.

      Now if only there was time....

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  2. I recently reread some of the earlier books in this series by Graham, and I was surprised at how overtly sexist and homophobic he was. I had forgotten that. The contrast between his attitudes and Barnaby's makes a good contrast.

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    1. Yes, Tracy, to me their contrasting attitudes made interesting reading. Thanks for having a look.

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  3. Your fine posting reminds me that I ought to revisit the Barnaby novels; however, it is a shame that there are so few.

    BTW, great blog! I am enjoying the generous feast.

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    1. Welcome to the blog, R.T. and thank you so much for your kind comments. I am glad you like the post and the blog. Please keep on visiting.

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  4. I've never read the book, Neer, but I watched the television show based on this book - it was excellent. Quite a nasty story with repelllent muderers, but a good adaptation. I like the early episodes of the series, but not the very later ones when Barnaby retired.

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    1. Hi Yvette, I have never watched the T.V. series so cannot comment on that but the book was good enough for me to read more of the series.

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