As a result I had to spend some time getting new tyres and the wheel tracking sorted out last week. I needed a book to read while I waited and as I had just read three books that came in at 367, 474, 468 pages respectively I picked up the much more manageable 200 page Roses, Roses by Bill James. This book written in 1993 had been featured by John Harvey in his interview at Crime Fest in Bristol, and is one of the long running Harpur & Iles Mystery series.
I feel guilty that I haven't read any of this iconic series before but better late than never. The first sentence sets the scene for the narrative which switches between Megan Harpur's last day and the aftermath. The dialogue has a style of its own with a brisk conversational quirkiness in which people frequently interrupt each other.
The novel begins dramatically:
When she was killed by three chest knife blows in a station car park, Megan Harpur had been on her way home to tell her husband she was leaving him for another man.
And is full of compelling dialogue:
"This is a dangerous and vicious city, like all the rest, and you people can't cope."
"Sometimes we have a victory, Mrs Grant," he replied.
"We have to look after ourselves, and look after those close to us. To be blunt you have failed us, are failing us, Mr Harpur."
I am only half way through the book but definitely enjoying it so far.