When I was in Dublin in February I went to the cinema to see Spotlight, which was excellent. It left me wanting to know more of the details of the investigation by journalists in America that uncovered such widespread and horrific abuse in the Catholic Church. I decided, therefore, to read Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church: The Findings of the Investigation That Inspired the Major Motion Picture Spotlight, by the investigative staff of the Boston Globe. The outbound flight on my holiday to Thailand gave me the chance to read it.
If you need a defence of old-school journalism and the importance of local newspapers, this book is surely it. The devoted time and effort of the investigative team and their unwillingness to leave any stone unturned, meant uncovering a far bigger scandal, involving far many more victims, than the team imagined in their worst fears at the beginning of working on this story. It’s shocking to read, just as the film is shocking to watch, but both are excellent. The impact that this small team of journalists have had on forcing the Catholic Church worldwide to face the truth is incredible. It is an important book telling a story that needs to be told.
For a bit of light relief after that, I turned to Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald. Given my love of Ian Rankin (see my blogs on Ian Rankin and Christmas reading), I was excited to be given this as a belated Christmas present, as Oswald was billed on the cover as the ‘new Ian Rankin’. It was a good bit of flight reading. Being immersed in the Edinburgh underworld was a distraction from a very full and uncomfortable flight, following a detective trying to get to the bottom of a string of events that all starts with the murder of a journalist who had clearly uncovered something sinister. However, I’ll be sticking to Ian Rankin himself (and Kate Atkinson for that matter – see my blog on my addiction to crime fiction,) when I need some Edinburgh murders in future, for me they are both in a class above.