Snuff – Terry Pratchett
I bought a copy of this book a few days ago. I enjoy reading Terry Pratchett for both his humour and some of the issues he addresses, and this one in particular is good.
The story focuses on Sam Vimes, who has previously appeared in stories about the Ankh – Morpork Watch, and essentially acts as the chief policeman around in the city. He likes his job, he likes what he does, and this story takes him out of his element and places him in the middle of the country side, with inevitable consequences.
While I was reading it, I felt there was something darker about this story than some of the other ones I read. It seemed to be a little more serious, and the humour was there, but it was a little less easy to pick up on. The characterisation was very good, and I enjoyed the scenes with Lord Vetinari, partially because he managed to lose his composure, most of all with the crossword compiler, who still managed to get the better of him, and stay unthreatening. Vimes, as nearly always, manages to combine good sense with creative thinking, and I really did like it – especially his coaching of the local police. It’s also interesting that while the countryside doesn’t make him particularly at home, the appearance of a murder actually grounds him, and where he was adrift, he settles into something resembling what he considers to be normal.
Pratchett also manages to tackle issues such as race and species with well thought out writing – Vimes is adjusted to the idea of beings such as trolls, yet the one thing which people still haven’t become used to is the matter of goblins, who are shown to be very much like anybody else. I liked this story because the plot was good and the characterisations were written to the same standard as previous stories, but I was a little amused at the fact that although the blurb shows it as a murder mystery, it actually takes a while to get into it. The characters and the interactions made it worth the wait, and I recommend it as good reading.
One small suggestion, if you haven’t read a Discworld book before: I would either read the Wee Free Men to try to get some sense of the world, or start reading the Colour of Magic. The book refers to events which happened in previous stories, and while prior knowledge is not needed, it’s helpful.