Long before I drenched myself in eau de bug spray, donned hat and gloves to weed and plant and rethink the garden, summer has meant reading. Three months of reading novel after novel like chocolates. For some years, when I taught full-time, I read mysteries: Dorothy Sayer, P.D. James, Martha Grimes, Reginald Hill, all of whom featured reoccurring detectives, who like Hercule Poirot, most always got their criminal. That is the appeal of the mystery: a glimpse into a horrific situation in which things will be put to right, and unlike in real life, justice prevails. Kate Atkinson’s mysteries were a special treat, because she, like James, was literary,but warmer. Her sad-sack detective was winningly losing directions and falling for women who treat him dishonorably. After I read Wallender and Steig Larsson, I stopped reading mysteries. I felt as I had run out of good ones, and Jo Nesbo did not appeal. So this summer, I amassed my books to read for pleasure, thinking now is the time for Dostoevsky, for Hilary Mantel, and the Grantas that have been piling up. But a friend told me of a thick, fat read, made for the summer, written by JK Rowling, featuring a detective who puts it all to right. I dug right in. I am told it is a series.
then then a frie