Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Four Mysteries for the end of the beach days. . . .

I'm not sure why I never clicked "Publish" on this. If you're looking for a mystery or two to sink into on a long winter night, here are a few choices. I might have read them at the end of our beach days, but they'll be just as gripping in your armchair by the fire. . . Enjoy!

Also piled up beside my computer, this one having been here for months, is Nicci French's What to Do when Someone Dies. Another engaging mystery from the husband-and-wife duo whose work I'm always happy to read. This one adds an exploration of marriage, its fidelities and betrayals, to a psychological crime novel. It pose a provocative question: what should one do when grief over the sudden death of a spouse is compounded by revelations that the spouse wasn't who he was thought to be. . . . or was he? For escape reading that nevertheless makes you think a bit, I'd recommend this one.

And while I'm here, another few mysteries I've read recently that you might enjoy:
Peter Robinson's Watching the Dark -- I always enjoy spending time with Inspector Banks, and in this title, it's good to see him regaining equilibrium after the destructive events of the last two books. Plus here we have the additional enjoyment of travelling to Tallin, the capital of Estonia. The novel makes a good case for putting this on a Maybe Someday travel list.

Thomas Perry's Poison Flower -- It's been a few years since I've read Perry's Jane Whitefield novels with his marvelous protagonist, the Native American (Seneca) guide who helps people disappear if she deems their cause worthwhile, their danger significant. I don't know why I hadn't recognized before how many of the elements I enjoy in Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels are here as well, and with a cultural backdrop that I find more compatible (First Nations rather than ex-military). Both protagonists have a fascinating set of skills, a strong, clear moral core, a willingness to work outside the law if the law seems immoral or inadequate, and each series develops an overarching plot with reference to a somewhat elusive backstory -- and with plenty of action. Again, recommending this one.

Val McDermid's The Vanishing Point. This is one of McDermid's standalones, whereas I must admit to being very impatient for the next Tony Hill and Carol Jordan (I see there's a title being released this October -- can't wait!). And indeed, while there is much in this novel to like -- McDermid's a good writer, there's no denying -- there are too many important details, never mind a central plot twist, that are just too tough to credit. I finished it, but was rolling my eyes by the end.

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