Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Dirty Death by Rebecca Tope

Here is Bill Evans, my favorite jazz pianist.

A Dirty Death (Den Cooper, #1)A Dirty Death by Rebecca Tope

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've read four of Tope's Cotswold Mysteries and this is my first of the Den Cooper series. Actually I'm a little surprised to see that it's called a Den Cooper series, because Cooper doesn't seem to play a large or effective role in this particularly mystery.

As other reviewers have said. The mystery takes place on a farm where the farmer is found dead in a slurry. Being American, at first I thought this was a sort of bog, but I'm pretty sure now it's where they pile all the cow poop. Yuck. I suppose there's worst ways to die, but not many.

We get to know the victim through the inner narration of many of the characters. I found this to be an interesting and skillful way of developing the characters as well as the story line.

None of the characters seem to understand the others. Their primary attitude toward each other is annoyance and impatience. Everyone has their inner angst that seems to obstruct a clear view of who the other people really are. I found this interesting, because I found myself despising a certain character when another character related to them, but then we get inside that character's mind and realize they've got their own problems and reasons for acting the way they do.

The Farmer, his name is Guy by the way, turns out to be someone no one except his daughter liked. His daughter liked him because he treated her well, like a little girl, even though she was in her twenties. It was hard to imagine her as a grown woman, because she seemed so adolescent.

No one liked Guy with good reason. He was emotionally and psychologically abusive to his wife. He was verbally abusive to Sam, his hired man. In fact, he was a plain all round nasty individual. He was married before and had two sons from this previous marriage, whom he never contacted and left nothing to in his will.

So. Who did it? Of course I'm not going to tell you, except to say that I found the plot line very interesting and it kept me going to the very end.

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Brian Joseph said...

Hi Sharon.

The best mysteries have the most interesting characters. Unlikable characters are sometimes the best characters. I also would not have known what a slurry is.

I have not listened to much jazz piano over the years. I will give Evans a listen.

mudpuddle said...

it seems like a lot of newer books have nasty characters in them... maybe a reflection on the times? it's a defensible position, critically i suppose, but not something i'd like to spend too much time reading... old persons like sweetness and light... and humor, haha...

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Brian!

I think the best stories have interesting people. I'd rather have a lame plot with well developed characters than otherwise. I know not everyone feels that way. My husband prefers great stories to characters, so it's all whatever's your cup of tea.

Sharon Wilfong said...


I'm glad to hear from you. I didn't see a latest post on your blog and was worried.

I agree with you that it seems that modern mysteries are amoral or dark as if the characters were dehumanized or void of human compassion. It's why I normally don't read a lot of modern fiction.

Hope all is well up on the northwest coast.

mudpuddle said...

tx for your interest... no, i was a bit lazy about typing my post is all; happens from time to time, haha... things here are pretty much back to normal, with rain/sleet and cold weather: makes for a challenging bike ride sometimes!

Sharon Wilfong said...

Wow, mudpuddle. I guess you're the postman of bikers. :) Be safe!

Carol said...

Hi Sharon, I meant to ask you before - do her books have to be read in order; if not do you have one you recommend I try first?

Carol said...

Hi Sharon, I meant to ask you before - should you read her books in order; if not is there one you'd recommend I read first?

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Carol,

I have read the first several of her books and while I suppose you get to know the protagonist a little better, they are all stand alone stories.

Hope things are well Down Under. Is Co-Vid leveling out?

Carol said...

That’s helpful. Now I can just grab one when I see it at the library.
Covid pops up here and there over here but it’s pretty much under control & unless you live in Melbourne there are not too many restrictions. 🙏🏻

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Carol,

That's good to know. We seem to have a spike in Texas. I'm hoping they will come out with the inoculations soon.