I have now read a few books by this prolific author who again
was new to me until recently. I do wonder how it is that
some writers fly under the radar as it were. I suppose it
is the kind of books he writes. I can best describe these
as solid middle-of-the-road British mysteries.

There are two series – the first entitled Lambert and Hook
in which there are twenty books to date and the second
the Inspector Peach series in which there are 11. The differences as far as
I can tell (I have only read two Lambert
and Hooks) is setting – Lambert and Hook is rural and southern (the
Cotswolds I think) and Peach urban and
Northern (roughly based on Blackburn or Preston?), and tone – the Peach
books are more overtly comic.

In general the books follow a similar pattern – a murder is committed and
Lambert/Peach investigate a cast of suspects
all of whom have motive and opportunity. The weakness of
the books appears to me to be that often the reader has no
chance of working out who-did-it from amongst the suspects
(this may be me being thick). But they are well written, well observed and
in the case of the Peach books at times very funny.

Here is another Britmyst writer who has produced a fine body of work, who
seems very reliable yet as I say seems virtually unknown. I am not claiming he is in the category of a Hill, Walters or Rendell. But he is just as good as some other writers who are much, much better known. Why? I suppose it must be the type of books he writes – definitely not psychological thrillers. And they must sell reasonably well (given that he has written a total of 31 with 2 in 2007 alone). I become increasingly suspicious about the distribution of fame and plaudits in the official (Daggers, mainstream media) mystery community.

Anyway for anyone who wants a good solid Britmyst in the classic tradition – heavy on plot and social observation with humour thrown in – Gregson is well worth seeking out. My own preference is for the Peach series because I like the humour but this may change as I read more of the Lambert and Hook books which I intend to do.

(May 2007)

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