Friday, 28 November 2008

Kylie Fitzpatrick - The Ninth Stone

Now this is as cracking novel. This can reallistically be called atmospheric. With a nod in the direction of Wilkie Collins here we have a true Victorian mystery novel. We have diamonds, India, dissolute Maharajahs, Kali, the back streets of London, opium, need I say more, immerse yourself and enjoy an indulgent read. This novel draws you in and goes in unexpected directions. I loved it.

Nicola Upson - An Expert in Murder

I had high hopes for this book, a murder mystery set in the 1930's. Unusually the heroine of the book is a real person the crime writer Josephine Tey. However although promising to be a richly atmospheric novel, I am afraid I found it rather dull. The characters were too thinly drawn to be of interest, perhaps because the book runs to a little under 300 pages and there are so many of them. Disappointing.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Kate Ellis - Seeking the Dead

Kate Ellis is the author of the highly readable Wesley Peterson series, see below. I was really interested to see what she would do here. This novel is set in North Yorkshire. Once again there is a link to history and also a supernatural element. I really enjoyed it. There is enough here to appeal to most crime genre lovers. I think DI Joe Plantagenet is going to be a character with some mileage.

Here we have mystery, serial killing and once again the opportunity to put our detecting skills into practice. I shall be looking out for the second in the series with anticipation

Phil Rickman - To Dream of the Dead

Readers of this blog will know that I am a a big fan of Phil Rickman. I eagerly wait his new book every year. This book can be read as a stand- a -lone but would be much more effective if read as part of the series. We now know the characters of the village so well, that there is a big emotional investment in their lives, with each new novel.
In this one, the village of Ledwardine prepares itself for flooding just as Christmas is arriving. Merrily Watkins our Diocesan exorcist and resident vicar is battling religious fundamentalists of various extremities, while also supporting her daughter Jane and lover Lol.
Throw into the mix a famous TV archaeologist intent on capitalising on Jane's find, and over enthusiastic developers intent on building over the site and we are all set for an engrossing read.
These are rich, intelligent crime novels with a bit of the supernatural thrown in. When I pick one up I know that I will be unable to put it down and will be reading late into the night. This book lived up to my expectations and now I have to wait another year for the next.......... :(

M.C.Beaton - Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison

For a complete contrast, a gentle , funny crime novel written by the author of the famous Hamish Macbeth series. Agatha is still pursuing love, still picking on the wrong type with hilarious results. Still she always solves the crime but not perhaps in ways she intended. These books are set in the picturesque Cotswolds. they are completely unchallenging, light , witty and have a real, feel good, fuzzy, warmth about them......

In this book, heaven fore fend, someone spikes the village jam making competition with LSD, the resulting fatal trips(!!!) have Agatha hot on the trail of the perpetrator!

Paul Johnstone - The Soul Collector

I have just finished reading The Soul Collector. This was a great accompaniment on a train journey to Birmingham and back! Fast paced and engrossing, it is a book that you want to finish in one sitting. I think it might have helped if I had read his first book The Death List first, as it was hard to understand why the killer was so fanatical. Some sequences in the novel ,if you thought about them ,were a bit far fetched but if you suspended believe and went with it - it was a real violent, gory, roller coaster ride! Not for the faint hearted!
Good to see some British authors beginning to crack this genre that has for so long been dominated by the USA.....

Susan Hill - The Various Haunts of Men

These books have passed me by. Thank you Gill for mentioning them. I am a big fan of Susan Hill's ghost stories, see below and wondered what a crime novel written by her would be like. This is excellent. Susan quickly sets the scene and her writing is so skilled that we are quickly immersed in the characters. I particularly liked the device in this novel in that the murderer is recording an audio commentary and so we are also drawn into detecting whom it might be. as well as the police.

Is a serial killer on the loose? Women are going missing but there seems no discernible pattern. However Detective Sergeant Freya Graffham is determined to solve these disappearances and prevent more. The ending is a real surprise!

I am looking forward to reading the next in the series.