Thursday, 11 January 2018

Joanna Cannon

I was offered the chanced to read this by Netgalley. I'd heard so much about The Trouble with Sheep and Goats so I jumped at the chance. Still not read that - but I now have a copy.

Three Things About Elsie link

My review -

Elsie is Florence’s lifelong best friend. Florence has just fallen in her sheltered accommodation and while waiting for someone to call and help her up, she dwells on her life, both recent and in the past. A new man has come to live in one of the flats and Florence recognises him as a man she knew had died in the 1950s. It’s Elsie who helps Florence to remember the past and the secret she’s successfully hidden from herself.

This is beautifully observed and in places very funny. Her friend Jack helps her to find out what the man is up to. They engineer a trip to Whitby for the whole community in order to follow a trail. She wants to know where the name he’s using now came from and why he’s trying to drive her mad and make her appear demented. The gradual unfolding of Florence’s past is brilliantly done, with the help of Elsie, and I enjoyed the book enormously.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

L M Krier

A prequel. I've only read Book 1 (so far) but it fills in some gaps. If you want to start this series (and I've enjoyed it so far) this is the place.

The First Time Ever link

My review -

I think many readers of this prequel will be fierce fans of the Ted Darling series already. I’ve only read the first but enjoyed it so much that I pre-ordered this. We see here several firsts in Ted’s life, such as his first kill as a firearms officer, his first meeting with Trev, his partner, the first time they adopt a cat (rapidly followed by another six!) and his first cases in CID.

I enjoy the characters in these books. Story and character are both important to me and here we are given both. This was a book I struggled to put down at bedtime and found it a gripping read. If Ted has a fault, he’s too good to be true but I sincerely hope there are at least as many decent, kind, generous and hard-working DIs in the force as popular fiction would have us believe there are drunken, maverick misfits. This is one police officer I want to believe in!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Beverley Carter

The third of the Eden Reid mysteries - a real page-turner.

Sleeping Dogs link

My review -

A man is found horribly mutilated outside an old lady’s house. Eden goes to see her – she can’t keep herself to herself. She then visits the widow of the murdered man. She’s genuinely concerned – not a nosy person! The widow knows who’s behind it but daren’t speak up. There’s all manner of things going on in this sleepy village, including dog fighting and wife beating and they’re all tied up with the political ambitions of a rich man.

It was lovely to meet some old friends from earlier stories here, though the book doesn’t depend on them. I think it can be read as a one-off. I love the Eden Reid mysteries because it’s not DS or DCI Eden Reid. It’s Miss Reid, the woman in the street. You can put yourself in her position. Her concern for the victims and her loathing of corruption come through and will be shared by readers. Another cracking good story in this series.

Jodi Picoult

My first review of 2018 is a five star stunner!

Small Great Things link

My review -

What a story this is! Ruth is a dedicated nurse in a baby delivery unit. As occasionally happens, a child sadly dies, but in this case, after Ruth has been forbidden to care for him. His parents are white supremacists and Ruth is the only African American nurse on the unit. The parents want to sue but the hospital throws Ruth to the dogs. She’s going to be left to take the blame and face the law suit.

This is an absolutely gripping story. It drips with unfairness. The prosecuting lawyer is black, Ruth’s lawyer is white, yet the issue of race mustn’t be mentioned in court, even though it’s blindingly obvious that it’s at the bottom of the whole situation. I have enjoyed every Jodi Picoult novel I’ve ever read but this one is up there with the best. I was totally swept away by it.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Darren Humphries

Norris was a minor character in a previous book of the author's. I'm glad he gets a whole book to himself here.

Norris Goes West link

My review - 

Children are disappearing from the streets of Liverpool and Norris goes under cover, ostensibly seeking his father and putting himself in danger of kidnapping. Naturally, it happens, and he and a group of street urchins – and Miss Laura – are taken across the Atlantic to the US. At the same time, Spenser Warwick and the Countess de Loesseps are travelling to the same destination for him to take part in readings of his work.

Norris was by far my favourite character in the first book of this series so I was delighted to read a whole book in which he takes the lead. I also fell for the young street gang and their worldly wisdom. The reason for the kidnappings is explained – and what a reason! A great, humorous and rollicking adventure. 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Alice Castle

The seond in the London Mysteries, The Girl in the Gallery tackles several diffcult themes but in the hands of Alice Castle, they are leavened with her heroine Beth's natural humour.

The Girl in the Gallery link

My review -

Beth is once again first on the scene when a body is found, this time in her local art gallery. A young girl is draped over a sarcophagus with her arms crossed on her chest, like a classical figure. In a dither, Beth phones an ambulance, as the girl still has a pulse, and her acquaintance from a previous murder enquiry, Inspector Harry York. Suicide or attempted murder? Then another girl from the same class is found deeply unconscious.

Because she’s determined and dogged, Beth can’t let this go and leave it to the professionals. She’s sure there’s something toxic going on with that group of girls. The writing is gently and funny, while not diminishing the anguish of those involved. Beth’s a brilliant character, intelligent and nosy and an excellent foil for the profession, Inspector York. There’s also a spark between them which I hope continues to flare in later stories. A series to sit back and enjoy. Thoroughly good!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

L M Krier

This is the first in a rather different detective series and I know I'll read more when time allows.

Baby's Got Blue Eyes link

My review - 

DI Ted Darling is investigating a murder. Soon there are more bodies and things come very close to home for him. Ted Darling is a refreshingly unusual detective. We’re becoming used, in fiction, to maverick police inspectors sailing very close to the legal wind and getting away with it because they get results. I suspect, even hope, that these exist only in fiction. Ted works by the book (mostly) and unusually, has a happy home life. This, too, is refreshingly different.

I enjoyed this story, though I guessed the villain some time before the end. I found Ted’s relationships both at home and at work very convincing and the story was well paced. The last part was particularly exciting. I shall certainly read more in this series and I recommend it to all crime fiction fans.