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The Girl from Rawblood: A Novel
Catriona Ward
Progress: 88/368 pages
The Complete King Arthur: Many Faces, One Hero
CaitlĂ­n Matthews, John Matthews
Progress: 54/424 pages
To Kill a Wife - J.M. Gregson

The storyline is good, it is a classic whodunit, in a very British style. Most of the characters are elaborated and believable. So far, so good...Unfortunately the investigating inspector and his  ( female) sidekick are particularly unattractive. He keeps referring to the victim as a drawer dropper  (not once but about 30 times or so) and she feels compelled to say " even so..."!!!

Now if this were written in the dark ages, well, a sign of the times and all that nonsense, but it is written in the late nineties, so frankly, a drawer dropper  (and many more funny  (?)remarks) are more than bizarre and definitely outdated. 

The Iron Chariot - Stein Riverton

Although written in 1909 (!), it is still an exciting murder mystery. Admittedly , the private dedective  ( a gentleman detective no less) belongs to another era, but it does not interfere with the pleasure of reading.An added bonus is the wonderful setting ,a beautiful isolated island off the Norwegian coast.All in all, good fun.

Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love (Grantchester) - James Runcie

This is not so much one story but several short stories who are somehow interconnected. What makes this series really special is the quality of the writing. It is absolutely superb. There are wonderfull descriptions of the Cambridgeshire countryside, well elaborated characters but also some thoughtful comments on religion, the changing society  (seventies) and on human relations.Good. 

An Afternoon to Kill - Shelley Smith

Oh,what an unexpected gem! This is "Death comes to Pemberly "(P.D.James) meets "Arabian Nights ".As in ,an exotic location frames a Victorian murder mystery. An absolutely brilliant book with a delightful ending. 

The Ghost of Robert Brown: A Mystery Novel - P. Wish

There is so much wrong with this book that I hardly know where to start.....It is full of inconsistencies,not to say mistakes(a grand chandelier,sparkling like diamonds,all that from the glow of 1 bulb,marvelous....;green eyes that mysteriously change into blue eyes and fifty pages further ,lo behold,they are chocolate brown;characters who seem to forget what they said,or asked,4 sentences earlier and so many more unbelievable errors (and I mean many more!))

As for the writing,their is virtually no description of any surrounding(the school is supposed to be gothic,well your guess is as good as mine...),the dialogues are static,there are strange time-lapses and none of the characters feel real(and are definitely not well defined),certain sentences are not finished and there are a load of silly mistakes(for example:it would help easy my conscience...)

The worst read this year...it is a pity,because there is a good storyline hidden somewhere but unfortunately.....

Reading progress update: I've read 200 out of 225 pages.

The Ghost of Robert Brown: A Mystery Novel - P. Wish

It's not getting any better!!

"I think he might know something about Robert's death"

Gary raised an eyebrow.

"I have reason to believe he might know something about Robert's death"

Gary's eyes enlarged (!)" You think he might know something?"

That's how a conversation between 2 idiots looks like......

 

Reading progress update: I've read 142 out of 225 pages.

The Ghost of Robert Brown: A Mystery Novel - P. Wish

I don't believe this......one of the characters had green eyes to start with,then they turned inexplicable into sparkling blue ones and now they are chocolate brown.....

Reading progress update: I've read 10 out of 225 pages.

The Ghost of Robert Brown: A Mystery Novel - P. Wish

Not a brilliant start......"Her nose was long,but the wrinkles gave away her age."

I'm sure that somewhere on this planet,this interesting sentence makes sense but unfortunately it does not make any sense to me...

 

This Side Murder? - John Bonett

A very obnoxious  (English) journalist is found dead in his room in a luxury hotel in sunny Spain. And there are plenty of suspects about...

The wonderfull charm of this series is A) a nostalgic atmosphere where tourism, hotelservice, social habits  (for example: people dress up for dinner,....) were an entirely different thing,B) a kind and intelligent Spanish Inspector Borges.

A Spanish holiday  (granted, with an early sixties feel) has never been so enticing, even with a murderer about! 

Beginning French: Lessons from a Stone Farmhouse - Les Americains

This is the story of 2 Americans  (and their adult daughter) buying a holiday home in France  (Dordogne).And of course the expected ups and downs.The leaking pool, a wonderful nightmarket, plumbing problems, wine tasting opportunities,a different language ....bref,la France!

It is a fun read, scattered with recipes  (not great ones, just French ones).

The thing is, it has been done before, and quite well  (for example:A year in Provence by Peter Mayle),so yes, it is a sunny read but not an brilliant sunny one.

Deadly Burial - Jon Richter

The storyline is good. The death of an ex-wrestler champion, performing on a bleak island, is a bit of a novelty. The wrestling circus, especially the second rate one, is well depicted.The main characters are well developed and all in all, there is a certain atmospheric tension. 

I know this is a debut so....but nevertheless there is something lacking  ( style? stricter editing?....) As for the denouement, it is frankly disappointing, not to say a complete shambles. 

 

Intruder in the Dark (An Inspector Littlejohn Mystery) - George Bellairs

A very British murder mystery with a very fifties feel about it  (although set in the sixties). The villagers are colourful but not over the top.And it is a relief to meet a Superintendent  and his Inspector who do not have drinking problems, a messy private life, plenty of chips on their shoulders and are not socially inadequate. 

And let's face it, a murder happening in a remote village is most of the time a winner. 

The Village of Eben Hollow - Jason Pacy, Brad A. Braddock

The setting is perfect, an isolated village surrounded by a dark wood steeped in unspeakable evil. Unfortunately, it reads as if the editing isn't quite finished . There are 2 names  ( authors) on the cover and it feels that way. Some passages are good, some are frankly disappointing and the entire book lacks some consistency. And the final chapter(s),well,let's say I wasn't completely charmed by it. 

Murder at the Lodge - J.M. Gregson

Well,the storyline is good, it is a classic British murder mystery. Most of the characters are well developed and believable but for 3 keyplayers.A superintendent who seems to have a IQ of minus 20, DI Peach and his partner (both professional and personal) DS Blake.

They are bordering on the slapstick side, unfortunately without the fun.

(There is a love (bed)scene between the protagonists,and apart from being completely superfluous, it is probably a perfect antidote to any kind of love at all(the bloke goes aaaargh...,death throes,pleasure, shock???))

Pity....

Kin of Cain - Matthew Harffy

Set in Anglo-saxon Britain  (630 AD),it represents a classic adventure story  ( really a story because this is actually a novella) and it has all the right ingredients:the king,the mead hall, the warriors, a famous sword,the ice-cold marshes, death and the shadow of a monster.An absolute brilliant read. 

Wicked Witches: An Anthology of the New England Horror Writers - Jeremy Flagg, Daniel G. Keohane, Scott T. Goudsward, David Price

Anthologies are never an easy choice.It is difficult to maintain the same standard throughout the different stories.Some are good, even very good, some are ok and some are barely ok.Still,all in all,a good (and interesting! )introduction to the witches of New England.