Read Mysteries, Not Facebook

Darrell Hoemann is the owner of Darrell Hoemann Photography and the Visual Editor of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. 


When I had referred the 40th person to snopes.com this political season because they were spreading inaccurate information, I knew it was time to take a Facebook break.

For me this meant indulging in a mystery. Our household is serious about our mystery books, even attending mystery book conferences on a semi-regular basis.

Season of the Monsoon by Paul MannI took this opportunity to finish the George Sansi series by Paul Mann. The first of this three book series was part of my readings when my wife and I accompanied a study abroad trip to India this past January.

In order to get a sense of culture before we went, as well as plane ride fodder, we chose fiction set in colonial India, post-colonial India and this series, set in the early 1990s.

Sansi, a half caste Oxford educated lawyer, returns to his mother’s India in “Season of the Monsoon”, only to find he needs connections to practice law, so he joins the police force.

The book combined an emphasis on politics, culture and corruption, with a constant reminders of a British influenced class system. All this helped me in some small way to make sense of what we encountered on our visit.

Devil of Delphi by Jeffrey SigerIn a similar vein, I indulged in another Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mystery, “Devil of Delphi”.

Author Jeffrey Siger (you can read a nice story on Siger on The Huffington Post) also blends culture and politics so a reader not only follows the resolution of a mystery, but gets a sense of the people and places.

We were fortunate to hear him moderate an panel at this year’s Left Coast Crime on “Setting as Character.”  He and other authors described the importance of their intimate knowledge of location, an attribute I find as intriguing as a carefully crafted plot.

So maybe before I return to Facebook, I’ll check out another favorite, the Anne Cleeves series set in the Shetland Islands, also a BBC series. Wonder if it is available on Kindle yet?

 

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About iprh

The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was established in 1997 to promote interdisciplinary study in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
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