Two Shorts for Sunday: One Man’s Meat and The Naked Nuns by Colin Watson #FarragoBooks #FlaxboroughSeries

Two more fabulous British mysteries in the #Flaxborough series.

Originally published in the 1960s and 70s, the Flaxborough Series by Colin Watson are traditional British mysteries at their finest. Watson used satire and a biting sense of humor to captivate readers across the globe. Thankfully, Farrago Books has reprinted these classics and made them available as e-books as well so that a new generation of readers can enjoy Watson’s tales of hilarity and skullduggery.

In One Man’s Meat, DI Purbright is back, this time investigating the strange case of a young man who has died while on a carnival ride. While this may seem like a simple, straight forward accident, nothing ever is simple or straight-forward in Flaxborough. Ever. As Purbright soon discovers, murder is afoot along with corporate espionage, “professional correspondents” and tainted dog food. For those of you who might equate “professional correspondents” with modern-day journalists – think again. A “professional correspondent” is court lingo for the person with whom a spouse has had a liaison. Oh yes, One Man’s Meat makes The War of the Roses look like child’s play.

Although the bulk of the story is told from the perpetrator’s perspective, all of the humor and witty repartee are present throughout. This particular book in the series is a bit more difficult to follow, perhaps because of the selected voice used. It is, never-the-less a marvelous classic mystery that readers will enjoy.

Of all of the Flaxborough series, The Naked Nuns is my least favorite. However, that is like saying that vanilla is my least favorite ice cream – it still is tasty and fun!

The concern with The Naked Nuns is that the plot is too unbelievable. Okay, most of this series has convoluted plots, but this one is more so. The salvation to the book is that, as always, Watson is an incredibly funny writer which makes reading his books a little like watching the Pink Panther version of Christie’s Poirot. Silliness abounds, but it’s a worthwhile, fun read just the same.

If you are a fan of witty, well written, non-violent, no-gore, classic mysteries then I highly recommend both of these books and the rest of the Flaxborough Series as well.

A huge appreciation to #Netgalley and #Farrago for giving me the pleasure of reading these books!

Happy Sunday to You All


It is a lazy, hazy Sunday here in the Midwestern US as most of the country is celebrating Memorial/Decoration Day and the unofficial start to summer. In my town, we are geared up for the INDY 500 with race flags flying high. As for me, I’m reading of course. What else would you do on a long weekend? I still am playing “catch-up” from my long list of books that were neglected over the winter. One of those turned out to be real gem: Coffin Scarcely Used by Colin Watson, a republication by Farrago Books.

Coffin, Scarcely Used is a bona-fide, authentic police procedural at its finest. Originally published in 1958, the Flaxborough Chronicles are a mid-century nod to writers such as Agatha Christie where the police are in the spotlight but the townsfolk are the real stars. The book reminded me so much of Miss Marple with the characters in the town playing such an important role in the solving of the crime and these characters are what truly bring the book to life. You think you are reading just another simple cozy until you get to know the people of the town – the good and the bad.

I found this throwback to mid-century Britain a very welcome relief from hard core crime as well as from amateur detectives who apparently know more than real detectives about solving crimes. I also really enjoyed the fact that the book was extremely well edited and well written and it executed a dry, witty humor primarily  because it was from another era. These things are missing from many mystery/thrillers written today.

I highly recommend Coffin, Scarcely Used for anyone who enjoys mysteries, cozies or who is simply in the mood for some light summer reading. As for me, I’ve moved on to Book Number Two in the series. Happy Reading!