The Book Was Better than the Movie – Categorizing the Same Story in Different Genres

„The book was so much better than the movie.“ I have heard this sentence so many times and I don’t agree. Generally because I have studied television narratives and I know that there is quite the difference between book, TV and movie narratives (to name just a few) and see them as separate entities. Lately I had a few stories where I enjoyed the movie more than the book only to realize that I would categorize them in different genres.

Aurora Teagarden Series by Charlaine Harris – Books vs. Movies


The Books

I have started to read the series as a crime story. Though it is cozy, comfy and less gruesome than other books, it never struck me as a crime story. Sure there was a mystery in it, the protagonist was interested in murder, but she never really investigated. It was pure coincidence that she got information and was actually at the right spot at the right time. There was a lot more side chatter that in other crime novels. The protagonist was far from being investigative and seemed rather clueless. So for me this is more of a comfy read about Aurora’s life mixed with a little mystery than an actual crime story.

The Movies

However, the Hallmark movies are really wonderful and I watched and enjoyed them as a crime story. Here, the protagonist is far more investigative and a little nosy. It is not coincidence that lead her on the right track. Her private life is still quite dominant, but somehow intertwines better with the crime story. I liked the characters a lot more than I did in the novel and the crime was actually presented as a crime story.

The Books Are Not The Movies – Reading Two Different Genres

So for me personally, the book is not always better than the movie as well as the movie is not necessarily better than the book. I consume both in a different way, as two different categories – cozy-chick-lit-with-a -little-mystery novel vs. cozy crime movie. So, apart from the fact that one might have to remember that telling a story in a book and telling a story on a screen are very different ways of storytelling, one can actually enjoy both with an open mind. I did not put any expectations into reading or watching Aurora Teagarden novels but let them just role over me and see what develops during my reading or watching of the story. This way I don’t feel like I wasted time.

Advertisements

One of my Favorite Cozy Crime Authors – Katharina M. Mylius „Tödliches Blau“ (Review in German and English)

paperback
publisher: Dryas Verlag
published 2017
pages: 256

In (Very) Short:

Der Trainer des Ruderclubs der Universität Oxford treibt tot in der Themse. Zunächst sieht es danach aus, als sei der Mann ertrunken. Doch dann verdichten sich die Hinweise, dass er hinterlistig ermordet wurde. Das Inspektoren-Duo Heidi Green und Frederick Collins ermittelt und findet heraus, dass sich der ehrgeizige Trainer mit seiner harschen Art viele Feinde gemacht hat. Dabei gerät ein Ruderer besonders ins Visier der Ermittler. Wenig später wird jedoch auch er tot aufgefunden…

Inspectors Heidi Green and Frederick Collins are at it again. In their 4th case the trainer of the Oxford rowing team is murdered short before the traditional rowing competition between Oxford and Cambridge. Wondering a little whether the other team wanted to gain an advantage, Green and Collins discover that quite a few people had a grudge (the wives, the children, the replacements, the rowing team itself). Now the inspectors have to navigate their way around a minefield of lies, accusations and hurt egos.

My Opinion:

Ich bin ein großer Fan von Katharina M. Mylius. Ihre wunderbare und bezaubernde Art zu schreiben begeistert mich immer wieder. Die Geschichte ist schnell und spritzig (mir fällt hier wirklich gerade kein besseres Wort ein), die Protagonisten sind sympathisch und liebenswert und das Verbrechen bleibt durchaus rätselhaft auch wenn man den Mörder durchaus schon vor ende erspähen kann. Mylius schafft es aber immer wieder einen auf unterschiedliche Fährten zu locken. Dabei bleiben die Morde zwar grausam und brutal, aber es fühlt sich nicht nach einer überwiegend blutigen Angelegenheit an. Es bleibt für mich immer ein cozy crime.

Zudem bin ich großer Fan der Protagonisten, die, anders als viele andere auch mal ein funktionierendes Privatleben haben und einen angenehmen, teils ironischen Umgang miteinander haben. Dies ist für mich ihr bestes Buch bis jetzt.

I thoroughly enjoy the work of Katharina M. Mylius. She has a wonderful and captivating way to write the story and enthrall her audience. The story is fast-paced, the protagonists are very sympathetic, the crime remains puzzling though you can glimpse who the murderer is. Yet Mylius integrates quite a few red herring and creates quite a few suspects. The murders however are not gruesome. Even when the crime is quite violent, it still does not feel overwhelmingly bloody or even blood thirsty. It remains a cozy crime.

I really enjoy the functioning lives of the detectives that are sprinkled throughout the investigation as well as the connection they have with each other and their colleagues. I think this is one of my favorite books so far.

Bottom Line:

Ein wunderbarer Krimi aus und in Oxford mit sympatischen Figuren und einem wunderbaren Schreibstil.

A wonderful cozy crime, yet only for readers of German. It has not been translated into English – which is a shame.

Rating:

Agatha Christie – Hallowe’en Party (Poirot Mystery)

Hallowe'en Party

paperback
publisher: Harper Collins UK
published 2001
pages: 336

Book (English)

Blurb:

At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce — a hostile thirteen-year-old — boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer! (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ Hercule Poirot mystery
+ solid read
– lack of motive, and a little too much attempted psychology

My Opinion:

After my wonderful and perfect Miss Marple read last month, I decided to grab another Christie and picked a novel right for October: Halloween. However, I was very sure that there was nothing sinister or spooky going to happen in this book. It was just really the title.

A young girl was murdered at a Halloween party after she claimed she witnessed a murder before. Mrs Oliver, who was at the party and who happened to be a crime novelist, is also friends with Hercule Poirot and asks him for help. So, of course he makes his way to the small town where he reunites with another old friend and former police officer Spence. And off he goes.

Well, this was not necessarily one of Christie’s best novels. I don’t remember a lot (which in itself is not a good sign): Poirot was going around asking questions, nobody had a good or real motive to murder the child, everybody starting talking psychology and mental illness, that the some people are just bad and can’t stop themselves and since everybody did this – whether specifically asked or not – it was rather annoying.

Altogether it seemed a little forced and not as fluent and effortless as many of her other novels.
Poirot was his usually charming and stubborn self. Yet still not enough to keep my continued attention.

Bottom Line:

A solid book, but not her best work.

Rating:

rating 3

Agatha Christie – Nemesis

nemesis

paperback
publisher: HarperCollins
published 2008 (first published 1971)
pages: 386

Book (English)

Blurb:

A message from a dead acquaintance prompts a bus tour to an unknown crime…In utter disbelief Miss Marple read the letter addressed to her from the recently deceased Mr Rafiel – an acquaintance she had met briefly on her travels. Recognising in Miss Marple a natural flair for justice, Mr Rafiel had left instructions for her to investigate a crime after his death. The only problem was, he had failed to tell her who was involved or where and when the crime had been committed. It was most intriguing. (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ Miss Marple mystery
+ fast paced, fun, entertaining
+ Miss M. was part of the story from the beginning
+ an interesting idea of letting her solve some unspecific crime with little to no clues

My Opinion:

This was an absolute highlight. I loved this novel. It was great, entertaining, exiting, thrilling… it was Miss Marple.

After an acquaintance of Miss Marple has died, she is left with a rather puzzling request: to look into an incident that might or might not have caused some injustice. If she solves this „case“ she will inherit quite a sum of money. She is left with almost no clues until she learns that she has been booked on a tour of British famous houses and gardens. From there on the case slowly starts to unravel.

I thought the idea was really intriguing and I was wondering how Miss Marple would be able to solve such a puzzle with almost no clues whatsoever. I know it seemed a little far-fetched that Miss M. would be able to get to the bottom of whatever, but she did. The story line unfolded beautifully and I was able to follow. It did not seem to forced, the writing was great and Miss Marple an absolute dream. I enjoyed her banter and dialogue with the other characters and I loved that she was actually part of the story from the beginning. (Unlike Bertram’s Hotel were she was missing for some time.)

I was trying to piece everything together myself and although I did not understand everything right away and would not have guessed some connections, I was pretty good at discovering the actual culprit. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, but in the end I was right. Good guess I suppose (well and I have read quite a few Christie novels by now that I think I might get the hang of things).

Bottom Line:

All in all, a great, entertaining read with an ever-present Miss Marple.

Rating:

rating 5

Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain – Murder She Wrote: Murder on the QE2

Murder on the QE2

paperback
publisher: Signet
published 1997
pages 304

Book (English)

Blurb:

Bestselling mystery writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher is invited to travel to London on the grand dame of ocean liners, the Queen Elizabeth II, as one of seven guest lecturers. The night they set sail, a fellow speaker is found brutally murdered. Now Jessica has just four days at sea to find the killer…before she finds more of her colleagues, or even herself, dead in the water! (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ Novels based on the crime series Murder She Wrote
+ fun and entertaining read
+ whodunit crime story
– the solution might have been a little far-fetched, but that’s okay

My Opinion:

When I don’t have an Agatha Christie at hand I just turn to Murder She Wrote. Since I have watched all the seasons that I currently own on DVD several times, I decided to start another Murder She Wrote novel. This is my second MSW novel so far and I have to say that I enjoyed it.

Jessica Fletcher is on the QE 2 crossing the Atlantic and of course a murder happens. Why anyone would ever invite Jessica Fletcher at all still amazes me. I mean theoretically speaking everybody must know that people die around her and you should probably just run for the hills, but anyway. I am rambling. (Although a friend of mine and I agree, we would just run, when she was near 🙂 )

So, of course Jessica being the observant sleuth that she is, starts to look a little closer. This time she has a new sidekick – a lady she met on the trip who is as observant as she is. Towards the end both know who the murderer is and when the police arrives at the scene (I mean on the boat), the true killer is revealed.

The book contains what you need, Jessica Fletcher, an annoying and incapable security chief, and a group of suspects with a lot of motive. Although the murderer was a little far-fetched for my taste it did confirm the traditional whodunit requirement: the person you least suspect.

The book was entertaining, the story interesting, the writing fast paced and on track, and there was Jessica. I can’t help it but I love her as much as Miss Marple.

Bottom Line:

A fun and entertaining read. No Marple, but exiting nonetheless.

Rating:

rating 3

Charlaine Harris – Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mystery #1)

Real Murders

paperback
publisher: Berkley
published 2007
pages: 290

Blurb:

Lawrencetown, Georgia,may be a growing suburb Atlanta,but it’s still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora „Roe§ Teagarden grew up there and knows more than enough about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature.
With those fellow crime buffs, Roe belongs to a club called Real Murders, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases. It’s a harmless pastime – until the night she finds a member dead, killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal „copcat“ killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime-suspects – or potential victims…

In (Very) Short:

+ first book in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries
+ fluent and captivating writing, Harris has a way of drawing you into the story
+ likeable characters
– not necessary a mystery series: lack of sleuthing and more coincidences really

My Opinion:

The first book in the Aurora Teagarden Mystery Series was my third Charlaine Harris series. I have started Sookie Stackhouse’s books some time ago, I started the Lily Bard Mystery Series last year, and I like to return to Harris writing. It is always an easy and entertaining read. And so was Real Murders.

Aurora Teagarden is a librarian who has an interest in real murders (usually committed some time ago). She meets with a group of people who are also interested in real murders and they discuss those cases. During one of those meetings a member is murdered in a way that resembles the murder that the club was about to discuss. Now, Aurora and her club members and friends are caught in the middle of it all and have to be careful not to be the next victim of the copycat killer.

The book was a good read. The story was fast paced, the writing was fluent and easy, and the main characters were interesting and likeable. Real Murders was not necessarily a mystery for me since Aurora was not really investigating a lot but was more caught in the middle of all this. She was and often seemed to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But although I read this as a mystery and expected the main protagonist to be more of a sleuth, it was by far not disappointing.

It was a good story and Charlaine Harris is able to draw me into her stories, her characters, and her novels. In the middle of the book I noticed I cared about Aurora so that there was not a lot left to be disappointed about. I would have liked a character who does not perceive that being married with kids was the only way to be happy and who would not be so disappointed for being single – but I can overlook that in one book. I am not sure how I will feel about it should this continue throughout all books, but I will have to see.

Bottom Line:

A good and entertaining read, with a likeable protagonist. But it is less of a mystery than you would expect, so beware with your expectations.

Rating:

rating 3

Agatha Christie – The Thirteen Problems

The 13 Problems

paperback
publisher: Harper Collins Publisher
published 2002
pages: 315

Book on Amazon

Blurb:
One Tuesday evening a group gathers at Miss Marple’s house and the conversation turns to unsolved crimes…
As each of her guests is mystified by the sinister tales they tell one another, the company is inclined to forget their elderly host. Bit there is a ruthless precision in Miss Marple’s pursuit of the killers in each tale… and a few surprises in store for ‘The Tuesday Night Club’.

In (Very) Short:

+ Miss Marple mystery
+ a great Christie read: fun and entertaining
+ 13 different stories within one book – not coherent mystery novel, yet they are connected
+ I love Agatha Christie and I love Miss Marple

My Opinion:

After I read quite a few (almost all) Miss Marple mysteries, it is a little bit of a challenge to review a Christie novel. I love them. They are nice, easy, fun reads and are still brain teasers. I always try to figure out what really happened or who was the murderer.

In this book Miss Marple’s nephew Raymond puts together a little gathering with a couple of people, who will each tell a puzzle story. The others will try to solve the puzzle. This is called ‘The Tuesday Night Club’ and are the reason for roughly the first half of the stories to be told. Then the latter part of the stories are told within a different constellation of people, this time all familiar to St. Mary Mead (Miss Marple’s home town).

Each of the stories include either murder or blackmail or an other mystery that the other members of those parties try to solve. However, only Miss Marple is able to solve all of them by drawing comparisons to her village life.
Again this was a fun and entertaining book. I especially liked that it contained several different mysteries that were each dealt with and concluded during one chapter. Thus, I could read a chapter in bed before falling asleep and I did not have the feeling like I was missing something. I felt comfortable when I put the book down.

Bottom Line:

A fun and entertaining book containing 13 different mysteries surrounding our beloved and knitting Miss Marple.

Rating:

rating 4