"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dead of Winter

TITLE: The Dead of Winter
AUTHOR: Rennie Airth

This is the third John Madden historical mystery, set in England near the end of World War II. The first two books established a pattern that this book also follows. A murder victim is discovered and as the investigation goes on, the author shows other characters who will play into the resolution even if there's no obvious reason how or why. In the first book, we saw the killer's pov; in the next two, the killer's identity becomes known early on. This isn't a traditional mystery as much as a look at crime detection at the time, how the local police and Scotland Yard handled unusual criminals whose motives aren't clear. And as with the other books, it's the characters that make the story worth reading. I enjoyed it a lot, but not as much as the first two because of that pattern. Things fell into place as I was expecting and therefore, there weren't any surprises or real suspense this time, despite how well the book is written. And there is a wonderful woman cop who gets a chance to help out the detective squad at the Yard, and I'd love to see a book featuring her.


Literary Shoes

I love these shoes, even if they're not the sort I can wear. Though at least some look like flats. hmmmm.....

Monday, July 14, 2014

Do You Tumblr?

This list of book-related Tumblrs is awesome. If I followed half of them, I wouldn't ever move away from my computer.

I don't post much on Tumblr, mostly just read, but my Tumblr is Random Shelly.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

TITLE: The Blood-Dimmed Tide
AUTHOR: Rennie Airth

The second historical mystery featuring John Madden, now retired from Scotland Yard. The first, River of Darkness, took place in England in the years just after World War I. This book jumps to 1932. Madden is retired and living the life of a gentleman farmer with his doctor wife and their two children when a girl in the area goes missing. Joining the search for her, Madden is the one who discovers her brutalized body. Much as he knows his wife would prefer he leave detecting to the official authorities, he can't leave the investigation alone, but the book is told from multiple perspectives, including Madden's former Scotland Yard colleagues. The Whodunit is established fairly early on, a man well-trained in disguises, deceit, and losing himself who also possesses the urge to savage adolescent girls. The book is more than a mystery, being as much character studies and a look at the times as Europe faces troubling events occurring in Germany that could spill across those borders. Airth's writing is simple, yet elegant, and despite a penchant for telling his tale in what feels like forced flashbacks within each scene -- a chapter will start at point B, then quickly fill in info from point A -- that stylistic narrative choice didn't hinder my enjoyment. On to book three, The Dead of Winter!