Last night and this morning, I was reading Ben Elton's Past Mortem, a murder mystery centering around a murderer who, as the book goes on, is revealed as someone who is killing people who were/are bullies, and killing them in bold ways that re-live how the bullies treated their victims in the past. Investigating the case if 5'4" ginger policeman Ed Newsom, who, despite a mediocre childhood, is now fairly prominent and of good status, albeit short. He is also alone, and harbours an all-consuming crush on his sergeant Natasha, who is sadly attached to her abusive and good-for-nothing freeloader boyfriend Lance. One day, on a whim, Ed logs onto friendsunited.com and finds himself opening a door to his past. His childhood object of lust, Christine, holds a get-together for everyone in his year, and he finds that work and pleasure most certainly do not mix, as the killer's next strike is much closer to home.
Aside from a far-too-long and downright wrong sex scene, Past Mortem proved a highly enjoyable read. Ed Newsom is an engaging and likeable protagonist and the blend of mystery and bathos is very well done. I'm kind of slow, so, whilst some people said they saw the twist coming a mile off, I genuinely was surprised when the true culprit was revealed. And, whilst killing off bullies is not a sensible solution to bullying, the long-term effects of bullying (even if intended casually by the proprietor) are investigated with sensitivity and compassion. The book actually has a great range of scope, tackling issues such as domestic violence, friendship, insecurity, and the need to feel validation. Some of these topics are tackled better than others, and some of the characters are downright dislikable, but aside from that, this is fine, frothy stuff from Elton.
Will win / should win
(500) Days of Summer
A Serious Man
The Hurt Locker
Julie & Julia
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Up in the Air