The best combination

The book I’m reading now is that best of things. It’s a children’s book. And it’s crime. I’m having trouble staying away from it. You’ll wonder why that is a problem, and the thing is I have so much to do. But I find myself sitting down, promising to read just one chapter before whatever.

It is often several chapters when I surface again.

Back in the olden days I don’t recall finding crime for children once you were past Enid Blyton & Co. So the thing for young readers who wanted to go on detecting, was to move on to adult crime novels. Which was all right as long as you could stick to Agatha Christie and other ‘light murderers.’

Those books are obviously still with us, and presumably young teens who have watched Poirot, might consider trying them. But am I wrong in thinking that new crime tends to be generally more gruesome, and thereby less suitable for the post-Blyton fan?

Actually, there is old-style cosy crime still being published. But when I think new crime, I think much more graphic, with more violence and sex and swearing than you want for your average 14-year-old.

And the reverse question is whether there was a lot of that around 40 years ago, and I just didn’t notice? Among the crime novels I receive now, I seem to mainly be in for the very, very bloody and depressing ones. There are books I just look at briefly, before deciding that even if I had twice the time, I wouldn’t dream of reading that. This week, one arrived accompanied by a wooden spatula, engraved with the title of the book, and both had to go.

On the other hand, with YA books, there is less need to jump straight  from Blyton to, say, Stuart MacBride. One excellent choice would be the one I’m reading now. More about that on Monday. Hopefully.

You can never have too much intelligent YA crime.

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5 responses to “The best combination

  1. I think youngsters do still have a lot of fun reading Agatha Christie and are quite savvy enough to disregard some of the old-fashioned attitudes that make us wince a bit. I was especially pleased however to discover a ‘gifted children’s’ website recommending early Margery Allingham novels.

  2. That’s good to hear, Julia. I resisted the temptation to list all the ‘old ladies,’ especially since Christie is known through television. Which helps.
    Thinking ahead to tomorrow’s Three Musketeers, I wouldn’t have read the books so early had it not been for the television series.

  3. I am a “youngster” and I am a little apprehensive about picking up a non-Christie mystery novel, because they, as you said, all seem to have so much more “violence and sex and swearing” than is good for ANYBODY. So I am quite content to stick with what I know and not venture farther out into the modern world. (AND Agatha Christie was a far better writer than most today.)

  4. When I was working at the bookstore, I never ceased to be amused by what the publishers would send along to help promote the book. The worst, perhaps, were some recipe cards, which was pretty standard with some of the cozies, but in this case they had to send a follow warning NOT to make the recipe as printed as it would be, well, poisonous.

  5. In my case the wooden spoon was presumably meant to stir the food made from the now dead husband. Which was a couple of steps too far for me.

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