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Death of a Witch, no. 24 in M. C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series 4★s
And an oldie, first published in 1929, Margery Allingham's The Crime at Black Dudley 4.5★s.
I've not read much by Allingham, so far, but what I've read, I like. I intend to target a few more of the oldies this year, I think there are quite a few out there I've not yet tried, (or in some cases, not even heard of - Cyril Hare, whom I first read last November, being a case in point).
The Black Book by Ian Rankin
An early Rankin but he never fails to delight. There was so much I loved about this one including the emergence of both DS Siobhan Clarke and Big Ger Cafferty as major characters. I smiled every time he mentioned DI Flower by his nickname "Little Weed" obviously named for the little weed who grows between two flowerpots housing "Bill and Ben, Flowerpot Men", an old television program for toddlers. That should keep Flower from getting too uppity.
I discovered I have at least three things in common with Rebus, a disdain for Elvis, a love of The Stones, and we both come from places named Dundonald - his part of Cardenden in Fife, mine in Northern Ireland. Love that!
Shatter the bones by Stuart MacBride
A noir mystery from Aberdeen, gritty and filled with ribald humour, not recommended for those with tender sensitivities. A small child and her mother, both stars of a tv reality show, have been abducted and held for ransom to which the public are only too eager to contribute. The police are ineffective and waste a lot of time arguing, pulling rank, pandering to public opinion, and going after red herrings. There is plenty of action here demanding attention because MacBride doesn't waste time with contemplation or filler. Looking forward to reading more in the series.
Shadows in Bronze - Lindsey Davis 4.5★s
Just finished The secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie
International political intrigue and murder, laced with a hint of romance, set mostly in Lord Caterham's country home of Chimneys. Written in 1925 before Christie reached her prime, this is still a very enjoyable golden age mystery
1. Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie. Recently made into a TV series, 'Grantchester', and set in the '50s, the star of the piece is Canon Sidney Chambers, who takes to sleuthing like a duck to water. I found the book a slightly easier read than Chesterton's 'Father Brown' stories. 4★s.
2. The Isis Covenant by James Douglas. I was unaware that this was second in a series when I picked it up, but it read as well as if it were a standalone. The main protagonist is an art recovery specialist with a touch of James Bond about him! I enjoyed it. 4★s.
3. A Shock to the System by Simon Brett. Not one of Brett's many series, this standalone is a difficult one to describe... Graham Marshall accidentally kills a vagrant, and getting away with it decides to eliminate a few human obstacles to his own happiness. A strange read, but I kept wanting to turn those pages. 4.5★s
Impossible to review this psychological mystery because I've no idea where to start without spoiling some part of it. It's a real page-turner and uses a plot that I haven't come across before in all my years of reading mysteries. I love getting a nice surprise like that. 4.5 stars - maybe it should be a 5 but I'll keep that in hand for Michaelides next book, which I hope is soon.
Just finished Ordeal by innocence by Agatha Christie. Not one of her best books, but still good. I read it years ago and the solution was just coming back to me as I reached it.
Lamentation is the sixth book in the historical mystery series featuring lawyer Mathew Shardlake. In this one Henry VIII is close to death but he still pits his closest advisors and his queen (Katherine Parr) against one another over religious beliefs.
The Witch Elm is set in modern-day Dublin and involves a skeleton found in an elm in the garden of a house that has been in one family for years. The skeleton is that of a boy who disappeared ten years before and who was a classmate of several of the cousins in the family. Kept me guessing to the last.
President Putin orders the assassination of several English and US agents. Daniel Holley, a Yorkshireman and former IRA member, currently serving a term in Lubyanka prison, is called in to help.
Had I known that this novel was inspired by an infamous Canadian crime from the 1990s I would not have read it. It annoys me when authors create stories (and make money) from recent real life crimes where individuals are still suffering. Robinson even mentions that horrific crime on more than one occasion. For this reason I find it difficult to rate this book rationally, or even more irrationally, to think kindly of Banks. Cheap shot, Robinson.
I am also a devotee of Margery Allingham and Mr Albert Campion and his burly bodyguard. Flowers for the Judge is next on my TBR.
I have read The Ruin and The Scholar and enjoyed them both but thought The Ruin had a much tighter plot line than The Scholar.
The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
This was frustrating rather than gripping. Cass worries about her forgetfulness, that she might be showing the first signs of early onset dementia like her mother, and mystery phone calls when no one speaks. After a while I got fed up every time the bloody phone rang and at every "I forgot". Elementary writing skills laced with stilted dialogue made a monotonous read. The denouement, made through the record of hundreds of texts, was a lazy way to wrap up, to say nothing of the crazy story about how the phone (with texts) was found. And who would keep such incriminating texts? All led to a predictable conclusion.
If you are able to get your hands on a book by Christopher Fowler titled The Book of Forgotten Authors, there are short essays on Gladys and Margery Allingham. It is a highly entertaining book.
Another of my favorites is Cyril Hare.
That's true, but Diana Rigg's Mrs Bradley was more entertaining for TV.
As stated on the home page: "These books are public domain in Canada (because we follow the Canadian copyright laws), but if you are in another country, you should satisfy yourself that you are not breaking the copyright laws of your own country by downloading them."
I read this for the first time many years ago and thought it would be interesting to read it again even though I know the solution to the mystery - it was impossible to forget. I enjoyed it just as much, maybe even more because I was able to get an idea of how Christie's ideas developed. As well, I've seen David Suchet's documentary about the Orient Express which helped visualize it better and I noticed the small, seemingly inconsequential details, like the watch hook, which really does exist, and which the victim did not use. Considering this was written in 1934 it shows considerably more talent, knowledge and style than others of the same vintage. There is no doubt Ms Christie deserves the full five stars.
>78 Sergeirocks:, there are some very cheap copies of some of Cyril Hare's books on Amazon kindle store, if you read from a kindle. I have to admit that I do use the kindle from time to time.
Interesting plot, but the action jumped around a bit too much without warning; kept me on my toes!
I'm not too sure whether the book is meant to be a cozy, like M. C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series (many of the cop interactions were amusing, especially when featuring the secondary character, DS Scott), or Scottish Noir (some of the violent scenes were quite nasty).
This split personality aside, I'll probably give the series another airing...
Engrossing, can't figure out how this will resolve!
Nothing wrong with a good Buchan tale... :)
I'm only in the early stages of the series, I must admit, but spanning from the '50s until the current day (including 3 episodes which seem to have appeared posthumously since the advent of the TV series), I'm interested to see whether Hunter moved Gently through the decades or kept him rooted in the '50's/'60's.
4★s for this one.
>125 Sergeirocks: I'm an Alan Hunter fan too. His books are very different from the tv series, and although Martin Shaw is excellent in the part of Gently, he is unlike the character of the books.
Leo Sellick, S. African businessman living on Madeira, hires unemployed historian Martin to research the life of disgraced Edwardian politician Edwin Strafford, whose house Leo now lives in and whose memoirs Leo found there. Edwin had loved and lost Suffragette Elizabeth, without apparently knowing why - until Martin turns up a Postscript penned by Edwin which reveals the truth, including why Leo might have more than a passing curiosity in the whole affair.
(perennialreader, if you look at the 'Touchstones' to the right of your 'Add a message' box you'll see the book title and author followed by '(others)'. Click on 'others' and search the list for the author you want, then click on that particular title. Hope you can make sense of that, 🙂.)
Rebus investigates a brutal murder discovered in the ancient subterranean streets of Edinburgh which mirrors an IRA execution and indicates links with a sectarian group in Northern Ireland. The victim is the son of gangster "Big Ger" Cafferty, Rebus' long-time adversary. An exciting, fast-moving plot with the Edinburgh Festival setting the background scene.
This is the first book in the series and finds Cadfael with several of his fellow monks heading into Wales to obtain the bones of a saint for the advancement of their abbey. Of course it isn't long before a body turns up for Cadfael to investigate.
(I saw your posting over on the Mystery and Suspense group, have you seen our sister group, 'Mystery and Suspense Extra!'? We've been doing a 'Century of Mystery and Suspense Books' challenge, where we each read a book published every year since 1920.
You should check us out: http://www.librarything.com/groups/mysteryandsuspenseex )
>155 Sergeirocks: Thanks for the tip about the Mystery and Suspense Extra group. I'm off to have a look.
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