Posted by: billpurdue | May 31, 2015

A new book of comments posted on the Guardian website

Have you ever posted a comment online? I’m thinking particularly about comments on articles on newspaper websites. If you have, have you wondered what happens afterwards? Well, for the Guardian website (as I’m sure for most other newspaper websites) there is a moderator whose job it is to check that the comments are on topic, weed out the trolls and so on. Inevitably the moderator comes across some very witty comments and downright weird ones from time to time. A selection of these has been brought together in a book called “I think I can see where you’re going wrong”, edited by Marc Burrows.

 I think I can

In his introduction, Marc Burrows points out that “much of this book is comprised of clever people making excellent jokes”. Here are one or two examples…

On the topic of ethical shopping: ‘What about ethical shoplifting, how’s that doing? Just because I’m too skint to afford food doesn’t mean I don’t have ethics you know’

 

Or, on pets: ‘As a husband, father of two daughters and servant of a cat, I have a dog to maintain some sense of ego and authority. It’s nice to be admired and adored’

 

Some might dismiss this as a ‘gift book’, but if anyone wants to give me a copy of this (the one I’ve been reading is a library book), I would certainly thank them. It’s an entertaining browse and something to reassure you that there is genuinely funny humour around.

 

Susan Hill’s crime hero

 Hill Shadows

The detective in question is Simon Serailler, of Lafferton Police, a man well connected in the town and with a sister, Cat, a GP and doctor at the local hospice.

I’ve read two Serailler novels recently, but I’m not really a great crime fiction fan. The first, “The Shadows in the Street” (first published in 2010) is about the murder of two prostitutes and the disappearance of the Dean’s wife. Has she become just another murdered female or is this completely separate from the main story?

 Betrayal of trust

In the second, “The Betrayal of Trust”, Serailler is asked to solve a historic murder case practically single handed. Following a very heavy rainstorm, a landslip on the moors above Lafferton reveals the body of a girl who went missing 16 years ago. Shortly afterwards, another body of a female is found. Serailler has very little help in solving the murders due to cuts in expenditure. Hospices and assisted dying are two very prevalent themes in this story – Cat recommends to a student doctor that she might like to do some work at a new hospice where she discovers that all is not as it first appears and a woman who is diagnosed with a terminal illness investigates various ways in which to end her own life. How they all come together in the final chapters, you will have to find out by reading the book.

Not being a connoisseur of crime fiction, I can’t give an experienced opinion on these two, but in my humble opinion, they weren’t on a par with novels by Stephen Booth or Steven Dunne. Incidentally, Steven Dunne’s latest, “A Killing Moon”, (the 5th D.I. Damen Brook novel) is due out in mid-August.

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