Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nicey Nice: Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree

Some mysteries are all about the bleakness of existence, with the lonely, sometimes slightly sinister hero battling the forces of evil, the darkness that lurks within all humanity and stains the fabric of existence.  Nancy Atherton's cosy mysteries featuring the deceased Aunt Dimity and her dim-witted adopted niece Lori are not about that.  They are about a world that is nice.  Lori lives in a nice English village with her nice family and nice neighbors, enjoying a nice amount of money.  She is kept busy caring for her nice school aged twin boys, with only the help of an endless supply of nurses, a full-time riding school with enormously flexible scheduling, and endless nice neighbors begging to step in.

It's getting a bit difficult to read these books, honestly.  The latest one, Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree, follows the standard Dimity path of setting up a farcical situation, having Lori notice the sinister implications of the new characters' actions, and then having a nice resolution instead of the malicious motives Lori projected.  It's an interesting twist on the usual practice of having dead bodies show up all over the small village where the cosy mystery protagonist lives, but after all this niceness the sight of the occasional (fictional) mass murderer seems almost welcome. C-

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