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Five Mysteries :)

December 22, 2007

I’m attempting to get all my reviews done before the end of the new year!  With that in mind, here are brief thoughts on five mysteries that I’ve read lately…(on a completely unrelated note, I’ve almost through the second volume of Sandman, and I’m really liking it!)

I picked up Innocent Blood by P.D. James thinking it was the first in the Adam Dalgleish (someone, correct my spelling please!), but it’s actually a stand alone.  After recovering from my initial disappointment, I was completely sucked in; a girl who’s adopted searches for information about her birth parents, only to discover that they committed a heinous crime.  Nevertheless, she reconnects with her birth mother, but meanwhile a quiet middle aged man is plotting how to kill her mother in revenge.  It had James’ typical focus on psychology and a large cast of vibrant characters, however there’s isn’t actually any mystery to solve.  A very good read!

As part of my seconds challenge, I read Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter by Ruth Rendell.  I had read a Rendell in the summer, From Doon With Death, and been a bit disappointed; since so many bloggers to seem really love her, I decided to give her another chance.  In this novel, a wealthy family is attacked in their home; the grandparents and middle-aged daughter are shot to death during dinner, while the eighteen-year-old granddaughter survives her wound.  Who would want to so emphatically kill the family?  I figured out the murderer by at least half way through, but I still liked Rendell better this time around.  I’m not sure if she’ll become a favourite author of mine, but I figure if my enjoyment increases with each book, it’s just a matter of time!

 Locked Rooms by Laurie King is the last (so far) in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery series.  This is my favourite mystery series ever, and this one was an especially good book.  King’s on top of her game as Russell and Holmes travel to San Francisco (where Russell lost her entire family in a car crash that only she survived at the age of fifteen) and soon notice that the circumstances surrounding that fatal accident are a trifle odd.  For the first time in this book, we get Holmes’ point of view as well as Russell’s; the story switches between them via large ‘parts.’  I really enjoyed the change, and I also liked the little things; between the focus on the devastating ’06 earthquake, the fun flapper who befriends Russell, and the importance of Chinatown to the story, I was quite satisfied with period detail.  I highly, highly recommend this entire series to everyone (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice), but this book is good enough to stand alone as well.

As part of the Outmoded Authors challenge, I mooched The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton.  My edition has tttiiiinnnyyy print, which kept me away from it for awhile.  But when I finally opened this collection of short stories, I found myself delighted.  Father Brown travels around in the book, and I enjoyed the change of scenery.  The stories don’t focus too much on character; we barely get to know Father Brown.  However, the mysteries were fun and the style was engaging.  I want to talk about this more on Short Story Sunday!

Finally, I read Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs.  The first in a series, it gives a lot of back story about Maisie, a private detective-slash-psychologist practicing in post-WWI England.  I very much enjoyed the flashbacks to Maisie’s experiences during the war (she’s a nurse), as well as her pre-war occupation as a maid.  I love the whole upstairs-downstairs thing! :)  Unfortunately, I thought that the psychology bit was quite heavy-handed, too much so for me to really enjoy the book.  So many bloggers that I really admire like the series, so I plan on giving the second book a chance…perhaps Winspear will begin to trust the reader more as she grows into herself.  The amount of period detail included was impressive…I think this one will go well with anyone who enjoys the Edwardian era, and who doesn’t need much mystery in his/her mysteries!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2007 5:48 am

    I really want to read that Laurie King series. And some Father Brown stories too!

    I’m very happy to hear you’re enjoying the second Sandman book :D And it only gets better from then on! I can’t wait to read your final thoughts on it.

  2. December 24, 2007 7:35 am

    Nymeth, I’m glad it only gets better! And definitely look into those mysteries. :D

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