Bread and circuses

Actually, I started reading one of those books in my might-take-on-vacation-pile. Just finished it. Pretty quick read, as all detective stories are. Usually with these books, I feel a bit hurried. I´m not exactly enjoying it, but like anyone, I want to know how it ends, how the author manages to stitch the whole thing up. Kerr has not done a bad job of it, I have to say.

What I object to in this novel is all the hostility, the hard-boiled american-type dialogues that seem so un-british, somehow. Philip Kerr´s hero is a female Scotland Yard Chief Inspector, ridiculously beautiful, young, clever, glamorous, and viciously man-hating (she actually regularly sees a therapist about this. Ironically, she is named Jake. The only genuine affection she shows to anyone is directed towards her target, a "multiple" (which refers to serial killing, not a personality disorder), an introverted (of course!) maniac who kills twelve men, execution-style. They seem to have something in common, somehow.

And, as the title, "A Philosophical Investigation", suggests, there is a lot of philosophy about the nature of crime and killing. Some of these parts I actually skipped. I suppose I´m not sufficiently interested in either philosophy or crime. It was this particular fictional crime I was interested in and I was eager to get to the end.

Another thing that irritated me a bit was that this story was set in the future. Being 2013. The book was published in 1992. And while Kerr has imagined a bit about future information technology, he has not been imaginative enough. He didn´t envision the mobile phone, or just how tiny gadgets were going to get, and he thought we would start calling our tv or our recorders something else because the technology behind the screen changed. Names stick better than he thought. Or we name things after the way we use it or the brand that supplies us with it, not after the technology inside it.

Not a classic, and a bit of a waste of time, really. But it happens. Sometimes I just pick something up and must finish it. A bit like a bad soap on telly, it draws you in by cheap, but effective tricks. Numbs you. But as far as detective novels go, it´s ok. Far better than that da Vinci-code crap.... After a read like this I kind of feel like I have been eating cream gateau for both lunch and dinner! I crave something a bit more nutritious now.

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