Doris Davidson – Jam and Jeopardy. As might be surmised from
the title this is a genuine cosy. I might have all sorts of objections
to the use of the term but once in a while a book comes along
for which no other description will fit – this is such a book. I think
you know when it is a book written and set in 2006 but it feels
like the 1950’s. I accept that a small village in North-east Scotland is
not London but even so. All of which is not necessarily a criticism.
I read this book in one two hour sitting (or lying in bed more accurately
This is Davidson’s first mystery although she has written other
books (family sagas) before. Her model is clearly the classic
mystery and she does a competent job. The basic plot is clever –
a dreadful old woman whom the whole village hates decides to test
her two nephews, both of whom desperately need her money, by
talking about the arsenic she has bought to poison rats – she
intends to leave her money to the one who tries to poison her!
Of course she ends up dead. Davidson does not really have
the craft to follow this premise through as a real mystery writer
might, but this is still a pleasant couple of hours. If you are looking
for a cosy which deserves the name this is worth checking out.

(May 2007)