Thursday, September 16, 2010

Six Feet Under

Yes, my dear readers, you all know it by now. Miss Lemon loves to grouse about Inspector Thanet. Reading Six Feet Under (1982), by Dorothy Simpson, has done little to change that proclivity.

Stuffy and self-satisfied, the Inspector could rival M. Poirot, were it only that he had a sense of humour.

But the poor man in trying.

Now that his partner, DC Mike Lineham, is about to enter the matrimonial state (the only state, by the way, that Luke Thanet thinks fit to live in, so it's high time), he turns his moral apprehensions homeward. 

And my, does Inspector Thanet find something to fret about: His wife Joan is thinking of ... how could she? ... joining the workforce. Life, Thanet predicts, will never be as sweet, harmonious, or comfortable as it is with Joan waiting for him quietly at home.

While he gnashes his teeth over this familial conundrum, a more serious domestic drama unfolds in the bucolic village of Nettleton. Carrie Birch, an introverted spinster devoted to the care of her invalid mother, is found murdered.

Who would want to harm a woman so drab and selfless as Carrie?

As Thanet and Lineham go digging, they turn up plenty of dirt, as it were, on Carrie and the few villagers she lived among.

Miss Lemon doesn't feel as though she's giving much away if she says that Thanet is wise and decent enough to see from the business in Nettleton that a stranglehold put on a loved one is no way to ensure that love is returned.

As Miss Lemon said, he is trying. Despite Inspector Thanet's irritating ways, this is a smartly plotted and psychologically insightful mystery.  Well worth the read.


  1. Hello! I found your blog through the Agatha Christie blog tour. I love the premise of this blog . that Miss Lemon is reading mysteries and all that. Fantastic!

  2. Alexandra,
    You're very kind to say so! And where would Miss Lemon be without her fans?

  3. I've read a few Dorothy Simpsons in my time, though I don't know if I've read this one. I remember them more by cover illustration.

    I do have to say that very frequently after reading this blog, I feel an urge to go down and frequent our local used bookstore and see what I can find...

  4. Great piece, Miss Lemon! Was just reading an article and thought of you -- have you ever read The Franchise Affair? By Josephine Tey. Seems right up your alley.

  5. You are kind to say so, Olive. Yes, Miss Lemon is a great admirer of Josephine Tey and The Franchise Affair is on her list. Stay tuned....