‘My favourite type of mystery, suspenseful, and where everyone is not what they appear . . . Christine is great at creating atmosphere . . . she evokes the magic of the stage, and her characters [have] a past to be uncovered before the mystery is solved.’ [Stage Fright]

- Lizzie Hayes, MYSTERY WOMEN

Don’t you hate it when . . .

Posted on Sep 21, 2012 in COLD COMFORT, Quentin Bates | 3 Comments

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.


  1. AnnOxford
    September 22, 2012

    Good to see you back blogging, Christine! Yes, I DO hate it when … I’ve read so many thrillers, mysteries, in the last year where the female “detective” insinuates herself into a dangerous situation. These women seem to have no female psi sense to protect themselves, let alone sense to use assistance. One series in particular — I could only read one– features a graduate student at a highly regarded Ivy League campus. If she’s intelligent enough to have gotten herself into this graduate school, pray tell why is she so mindless of everything around her? I do understand women writers are trying to write brave, strong women. But they can’t be stupid!

  2. lyn
    September 23, 2012

    I agree! I read a crime novel a couple of months ago in which this happened & it drives me mad. It’s a clumsy & unbelievable way to get to the solution of the mystery. Although at least in this book of the series the heroine didn’t end up in peril of her life which she had in the previous books. The chatracter who didn’t call for backup was a policewoman & should have known better. Irritating!

  3. Christine
    September 24, 2012

    Delighted to hear from you both. Clearly this struck a chord!


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