I'm just back from my holidays, about which more soon. One of the many good things about getting away was the chance to catch up with a bit of reading - in fact, I was reminded of how hard it has become to carve out enough time to read novels. But I've devoured four good ones, while soaking up the sun, and will have a bit to say about each of them.
Meanwhile, I raved recently about the excellence of the Swedish TV interpretation of Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series. ‘Mastermind’ was superb. Just before going away, I watched ‘The Village Idiot’, again with Krister Henriksson in the lead role, world-weary as ever, and my good impression has been confirmed, even though I didn’t think this story was in the same street as ‘Mastermind’.
On reflection, I think the brilliantly enigmatic feel of the early scenes of ‘Mastermind’ reminded me, subtly, of the appeal of early episodes of ‘Taggart’, more than twenty years ago. In the days when Mark McManus starred as Jim Taggart, and Glenn Chandler wrote most of the scripts, the Glaswegian cop series was unmissable, as far as I was concerned. Now, sadly, it is pretty routine, and the current run of stories rarely sets my pulse racing.
Perhaps the mistake with ‘Taggart’ has been to go on for too long. I hope that the same fate does not befall ‘Wallander’. In ‘The Village Idiot’, a troubled man strapped to a home-made bomb holds bank workers, and a woman customer, hostage, but the resolution of the siege is not the end of the story by a long chalk.
Interestingly, the script writer broke one of the ‘commandments’ for detective stories laid down in the 1920s by Father Ronald Knox. I won’t say which one, for fear of spoiling the story, but I think the script just about got away with it.. .