Series: Chief Inspector Barnaby #1
Published by Felony & Mayhem on 1 June 2005
Genres: Adult Mystery
Badger's Drift is an ideal English village, complete with vicar, bumbling local doctor, and kindly spinster with a nice line in homemade cookies. But when the spinster dies suddenly, her best friend kicks up an unseemly fuss, loud enough to attract the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. And when Barnaby and his eager-beaver deputy start poking around, they uncover a swamp of ugly scandals and long-suppressed resentments seething below the picture-postcard prettiness.
Well hello loves!
So you probably noticed that I went on a really long hiatus. I wasn’t really intending too, but life got a bit full for a while and I had to take a step back. Now that I can finally say Grad School is OVER! I’ll be rededicating my time to the blog again.
Man have I missed you guys! This community means so much to me and I was super sad that I wasn’t able to stay as connected as I wanted to over the last few months. Thank you so much to all of you that have stuck with me through my silence. I cannot wait to get reacquainted with you all and to fangirl/boy over all the things I’ve been reading and you’ve been reading and just books, books, books and you know life things too, I guess haha. Anyway, here’s my latest review of a mystery I read a few months back. Hope you enjoy!
Synopsis from Amazon:
Badger’s Drift is an ideal English village, complete with vicar, bumbling local doctor, and kindly spinster with a nice line in homemade cookies. But when the spinster dies suddenly, her best friend kicks up an unseemly fuss, loud enough to attract the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. And when Barnaby and his eager-beaver deputy start poking around, they uncover a swamp of ugly scandals and long-suppressed resentments seething below the picture-postcard prettiness. In the grand tradition of the quietly intelligent copper, Barnaby has both an irresistibly dry sense of humor and a keen insight into what makes people tick.
I decided to pick up The Killings at Badger’s Drift (Chief Inspector Barnaby #1) by Caroline Graham because I was a few seasons into watching Midsomer Murders on Netflix and really enjoying the TV show. I’ve always been a fan of detective TV shows or crime TV shows and just began watching this show on a whim. I instantly got sucked in (I’m currently on season 8…but have a ways to go since there are 20 seasons!!) and of course got curious about the books that started it all. Since I wasn’t sure if it was a book or series I’d like to own, I decided to search for it in the library first. Luckily, my library system had it at another branch and I was able to take it out.
When I first began reading the story, it was a bit hard to get into for me. I know that the seven stories Graham wrote were followed pretty closely in the first few episodes of the TV Show, but the story actually seemed to lack something for me. It might have been because the show was still fresh in my mind and so I already knew who the culprit was in the end. Still, I did enjoy experiencing the mystery all over again from a different format and writing style.
Speaking of writing style, Graham’s writing was slightly awkward at parts. Some of the transitions were a bit rough and I sometimes got lost in the dialogue or when a new scene or time was beginning. I’m going to assume that this was because this book was Graham’s first book and that maybe I was unused to the UK voice or writing style. Still it pulled me out of the book at times.
This disconnect with the writing style also led me to not really enjoy the relationship between Barnaby and Troy. Watching the show, I really enjoy their banter and relationship. I seemed to infer a mentor/mentee relationship even though Troy sometimes rolled his eyes at Barnaby. Overall though, they seem to get along and for the most part enjoy working together. However, while reading this story, I felt that there was a lot more distance between the two partners and that Troy came across a lot more resentful almost of Barnaby. Additionally, Barnaby doesn’t seem to include Troy as much in his investigations within the book. So I missed their more positive relationship that I was accustomed to in the show.
In terms of other familiar characters from the show, Joyce and Cully both make appearances within this first book. Joyce comes across as a sweet character and I enjoyed seeing both her and Cully in the book. With that said, both Joyce and Cully barely make appearances and seem more like stock characters than the more established roles they play in the show. Grant it, the show allows that more established character base because there are multiple episodes and I’ve only read this first book. I’m curious to see if they play more of a role in the later books.
I’m definitely leaning towards the TV show versus the books.
While I did in the end enjoy reading the book and seeing some of the different plot points that were slightly changed from book to screen, I find myself gravitating to the TV show more so than the book. My enjoyment of the book was hindered a lot by the writing style and the changes in the two main characters’ relationship. I did really like revisiting this mystery and seeing it all come together again, but find myself loving the show more.
With that said, I’m still interested in seeing how Chief Inspector Barnaby and Troy play out throughout the other books and will most likely be picking up the next one in the series when I have a chance. And I’m already continuing on with the TV show.
I’d also still recommend this book for fans of the show. I think it’s always good to see the beginning of things or (if your a big fan) to experience the fandom across formats. I would also recommend this book for any mystery lovers, particularly cozy mystery lovers as this story has a bit of a milder storyline.
Have you read The Killings at Badger’s Drift? Have you watched Midsomer Murders? Have you done both? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! I’d love to see what you all thought of both!
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