“As I am sure you will agree, one of the great strengths of the British people is a clear understanding of one’s place (103)”.
I will apologize in advance, dear readers, for posting another commentary on yet another murder mystery. It is a frigid winter, being of a sedentary disposition this season, I will admit here, to you alone, that the mystery genre serves to enliven an otherwise dull, daily routine and my duller brain.
This “cozy British” mystery, a first in an upcoming series, is set in a recent post-WWI village where an outspoken and radical American friend, Beryl, of the “stay-at-home, leading a quiet life,” and a former classmate of Edwina comes to visit. After this, mysteries ensue in this small-minded town where all seems to be calm on the surface. The plot is not distinctive, but Elliott’s characters are quite a bit of fun. Their personalities are flawed, which helps to make them so very likable as they tussle back and forth with arguments and agreements on plans to unveil several nasty incidents. Any reader who is a fan of the Australian series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries will thoroughly relate to Beryl Helliwell!
Which leads me to more…
Addendum and rather a rant: Today the hub and I paid a visit to the Renwick Gallery (of the Smithsonian Museums) specifically to view this exhibit:
“Lee, the first female police captain in the U.S., is considered the “mother of forensic science” and helped to found the first-of-its kind Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard University when the field of forensics was in its infancy.”
This remarkable woman created miniature dioramas of murder scenes. She combines many of the “women’s crafts” of sewing, assemblage, the profession of teaching, not only into a pedagogical tool for investigators but imbued her artful intelligence into the newly burgeoning field of forensic science. Wow! I had never heard of her, this rare woman who was Professor of Legal Medicine, Professor of Anaesthesia (Pediatrics)…and this is from someone – namely me, dear reader – who has a graduate degree in Women’s Studies AND Forensic Science! Why have I never heard of her? Sins of omission in our culture, indeed.
All this to say, while some people may disparage the cozy murder mystery genre as “women’s reading,” Lee is living proof that murder is fair game for all women, everywhere, regardless of time or place.
Elliott, Jessica. Murder In An English Village: a Beryl and Edwina mystery. Kensington Books, 2017. Print.
“George Burgess Magrath Library of Legal Medicine.” On View: Center For the History of Medicine, Harvard University, collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/collections/show/105. Accessed 15 Jan. 2018.
“Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.” SAAM, Smithsonian Institution, 20 Oct. 2017, americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/nutshells.