27 August, 2011

True-crime: I'll read anything!

Couples who Kill; Profiles of Deviant Duos

Carol Anne Davis

One of those true crime books, though different from the ones i read at Bob & Fran’s because they (by Ann Rule, maybe?) are written more in a novelistic style and this is tending towards the factual, documentary style, though still intended to be entertaining. Also, of course, this is the stories of about a score or so pairs of people who have committed murder, once or more times, either together or, in a few cases, with some doubt about the involvement of one of the partners; the couples are not necessarily (though frequently they are) married, nor even lovers, though that is the first impression given by the title (“couple” is not a restrictive descriptor, but we do tend to use it that way: More often than not “a couple” in common parlance are sexually involved, if not more), which is perhaps a little misleading.

The book as a whole was quite interesting; Davis does not write badly, although she isn’t, perhaps, a natural writer ~ by which i mean that i can feel her struggling sometimes, trying to make the thing flow ~ but she is certainly interesting, and knows her facts thoroughly. The main issue i have with the book is the organisation; it appears that she has given some thought to how to arrange her couples, putting some of them into categories, and telling the stories of others in far greater detail in chapters by themselves. The problem is, however, that the categories don’t seem fully natural, and within the chapters that make up the categories, the flow ought to be broken a bit more clearly between couples, perhaps with a slightly bolder sub-heading, or a new page, or some other typographical device making it clear to the reader that the subject has changed. These are minor points, however, and i would not wish to belabour them. Another minor quibble i had was with Davis’ occasional habit of referring to her other books in the same series, i imagine, Women who Kill and Children who Kill; it has always seemed a bit like blatant advertising for authors to make such references (other than novelists, whose characters think about previous events, sometimes to be found in other books, but that doesn’t usually include the title of the relevant novel), and i half expect the author to continue, “Available for 3/6 from all good booksellers” which tips the thing over into comedy, if not farce, not at all the effect one wants in a work such as the current one. Overall, though, i did enjoy the thing, and might well flip through another with her name on the spine.

3 comments:

Elsie Wilson said...

Hmm, just realised that the title for this piece could be misinterpreted to mean that i'll read any true-crime material. What i actually meant, of course, is that it is truly a crime that i have no standards to my reading, and will run mine eyes over any printed matter that comes my way!

Stephanie Rae Pazicni said...

Well, that is good to know... I would have fallen for simply "low standards" but knowing you'll read absolutely anything makes me far more secure...

Elsie Wilson said...

Absolutely anything. I'm not proud of it, but it is the truth; if there's print in front of mine eyes, it doesn't matter ~ and "it" can be anything. Newspaper, novel, poetry, science paper, list of ingredients, back of a DVD case of a film i'll never watch...