our hero doesn’t call for back-up, but just goes straight in to tackle the bad guy. This happened in a novel I read in the summer (I won’t name names). There was no good reason why she (yes, I am afraid it was a woman) should not have waited, but she didn’t and one of her men got shot and she asks herself, ‘Why did I do this, putting my deputy’s life in danger?’ Yes, why did you, I found myself asking, even I know why. The author feels they have to crank up the tension and put their heroine in jeopardy, but it irritates the hell out of me when a female professional behaves so, well, unprofessionally. That’s the point at which I stop believing in the story. It definitely annoys me more when it’s a woman behaving in this way. I felt the same another crime novel that I read on holiday, except that this time it was a middle-aged female lawyer: I found it hard to believe that someone so disorganised and even at times downright silly could ever have become a partner in a law firm. I know it was supposed to be make her seem more human, but would a man be depicted that way (I should add that the writer was a woman)? A relief then to turn to Quentin Bates’s new novel, COLD COMFORT, and Sergeant Gunnhildur, who may well make mistakes, but is never downright foolish and doesn’t waste time worrying about whether she’s packed the right clothes. This was a good solid read and I enjoyed the Icelandic setting. I recommend it.