Friday, 30 September 2011

The Whaleboat HouseAmagansett

This is the same book, so do not be fooled! The publisher clearly thought the original title had to be simplified. Certainly the new cover fits in with those of his later books.

Once again we have a murder mystery/thriller. This time it is set in Long Island, USA in 1947.  Having read this book last in the series, I was impressed as to how deep and structured it was. All the elements I have come to recognise in my fest were there. Once again we are immersed into a rich, complex and textured community, that at the same time is finite in the sense that we have a small cast from which to find our murderer. I loved the character of Hollis the detective. There were all the elements of classic film noir that added to the atmospere.
 It was also very clever how we were drip fed details of Conrad through out the book, so that we were never quite sure what his next move might be. It was not until quite some way into the book that I realised his age!

Again there is much here that would make it an excellent reading group book but also an entertaining read that will keep you pleasurably lost in another world.

Keep writing Mark as I have now run out!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Mark Mills - The Information Officer

The Information OfficerThis book is more of a murder mystery, than his previous books I have reviewed, as within the setting there is a serial killer on the loose. Once again though it is the setting that is so fantastic. Here we are in Malta in the 1940s. For those of you who loved a Pair of Silver Wings by James Holland here is a novel set in the same time frame and the same place. As such it would make a very interesting reading group challenge, to read the two books together.
Once again Mark has produced an atmosperic thriller with an interesting puzzle. In this novel we also have the added frisson of chapters written from the viewpoint of the murderer. This is an  clever device as clearly we have a small cast from which to pick the murderer, and I found myself, re-reading sections to find clues, as to who it might be. It certainly racked up the tension and once again I was ready until late in the night!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mark Mills - The Savage garden

The Savage GardenWell having searched my BLOG it appears that I did not review The Savage Garden, so here goes.
The thing that Mark does do well in his writing is atmospere, and as I stated in my previous review it is this which kept me reading. Yes there is a puzzle, yes there is a death, but it is the sheer ability of  his skill to immerse you in the period in which he casts you, that holds you and keeps you reading long into the night.
This book is set in the 1950s in Tuscany, Italy. Our hero is tasked with investigating the history of a historical garden for his thesis, the family owning the garden being friends of his professor. As he investigates mysteries begin to surface and he gradually comes to realise that the family that have welcomed him into their midst may have their own secrets. Secrets that may echo those embedded in the garden whose mystery he has set himself to solve. Classy, elegant and much to entertain a reading group. It was a Richard and Judy recommendation and once you have read it you realise why.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Mark Mills - House of the Hanged

House of the HangedI  have just finished a Mark Mills fest. Started on the back of reading this book. I just could not get enough. So more reviews to follow.
This is his latest book and it really is great. It is set in France in the 1930s. It is an engaging thriller and I could not put it down, it took me two days and nights to read it.
I was a big fan of his Savage Garden, see review below, and this is up to that standard.
This would make a good reading group book as there is much that can be discussed in relation to the time period. It is very atmosperic, and you feel totally immersed in the setting that Mark has created.
The book starts in Russia, and then switches to France, it abounds with spies and murder and is thoroughly enjoyable. As with all these thriller there is very little about the plot that can be told without introducing spoilers, however it is to be recommended.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Dan Wadell - Blood Detective

I read this on holiday and have only just got round to reviewing it. Dan Waddell is an expert on genaeology, He wrote the Best Selling ' Who Do You Think You are?' to accompany the TV series. This is his first novel.
It really is a great idea and fairly unique I would have thought in crime. Here we have an expert in genealogy helping the police solve crime in the present by researching family and local history.

Here we have a serial killer in Victorian London and another in present day London. There appears to be a link can our genealogist, Nigel Barnes, find the link?
For those of you fascinated by family history or in researching your house, or street, this has a wealth of ideas tucked in among the fiction. It works really well as a Crime Novel and I look forward to the rest of the series.
On a personal level, I particularly liked the setting in Ladbroke Grove. I lived there years ago and several times people knocked on our door looking for Rillington Place, as yes I lived in Wesley Square........
I throoughly recommend this. It would make a good reading group read and I think it would also be enjoyed by a local history/ family history group as well.

Friday, 2 September 2011

David Hewson - The Fallen Angel

Another wonderful offering from David in his Nic Costa series set in Rome. I am completely hooked on these.

This is an intriguing puzzle and as usual it kept me guessing to the end.
Nic has a potential new love interest ( I do hope so he deserves a little bit of happiness!), whilst out meeting with her they hear screaming, running to the scene they see a young g irl bent over her dead father who apparently has fallen from a balcony that is under repair. Is it an accident? Of course it isn't, but the intricacies of their lives will keep you guessing.
As usual I learnt so much more about Rome and in particular the story of Beatrice Cenci, a sixteenth century noblewoman still honoured by women today.
I shall tell you no more as it would contain spoilers!