Neighbourhood watch

I walked round the neighbourhood in the recent – and very welcome – sunshine. So sunny was it, that when I came level with Mr Beaverman’s house, I didn’t see him at first, hidden in the shade, killing off his weeds.

But he called out a greeting and I stopped for a chat. The funny thing is, I can’t quite remember how we first started talking, years ago. But it’s that sort of neighbourhood; you feel a connection with someone further down the road, across generations and occupations and any other obstacles you might come up with.

Once the primroses had been discussed, I mentioned I needed to get back to packing more books. I moaned about the number of books we have, and Mr Beaverman countered with how many he owns. Lots of metres…

And then he said – in an apologetic kind of way – that most of them were only (and here I imagined he’d say they were mostly boring ones, like the Resident IT Consultant’s books) whodunnits. Just think! Here we’ve been polite for years and we have never ventured onto a shared interest in crime. Because you don’t, when there are primroses and world economics and important stuff that you can talk about.

Ian Rankin

He likes Ian Rankin. He has read all of his books. I was desperately trying not to say I’ve only read one. (Sorry about that.) And having read all of Rankin, he has moved on to Stuart MacBride. I shuddered and asked how he managed that, saying I’d only read a short (Barrington Stoke) MacBride and that was more than enough for my ladylike nerves.

Mr Beaverman admitted the books are gory, but that’s OK. He then described what happens in the one he’s reading now…

I mentioned I’d heard Stuart at Bloody Scotland last September, and how entertaining he and Val McDermid had been. We agreed that swearing is all right if there is a reason for it.

James Oswald, Natural Causes

And then I tried to interest Mr B in James Oswald, since he is obviously into Scottish crime. I pointed to the Edinburgh setting, which ought to be just right for someone who has exhausted Rebus & Co, but totally forgot to say that James has named his sidekick for Stuart. Must go back and tell him.

Mr B would like to go on a Rebus walk in Edinburgh, but the trouble is when he is there, he’s so busy visiting people, he’s never had the time.

It might be time to force him.

Meanwhile I’m pondering who else Mr Beaverman would enjoy. Knowing me, I won’t settle until I’ve got a long list. (And I went back to my house with a view to seeing if I had any crime I could off-load.)

One response to “Neighbourhood watch

  1. There’s a children’s book to be made of Mr. Beaverman hidden in the weeds. Either that, or a mystery of the Edmund Crispin variety.

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