Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

Wakenhyrst - Michelle Paver

1966. The late Edmund Stearne,a gentleman and a murderer,creates a bit of a stir in the modern art world with his triptych that he painted while being a guest at Broadmoor,a high security psychiatric hospital. Because,yes, Edmund was a murderer. Right?

1906. Maude lives with her family in Wake’s End,a rather grim, isolated manor surrounded by marshes and fens. Her father, Edmund Stearne,a egocentric, inspired historian with a predilection for medieval history has more than a tight grip on his household and after the death of her mother life becomes just a bit more unsettling for 15 year old Maude. She discovers her father’s diary and so secretly follows his musings and thoughts. When Edmund discovers the Doom,a painting that represent the Last Day of Judgement,in the churchyard things start to break down for him. Present and past demons haunt Edmund and very slowly he becomes a more than tormented and haunted man. The outcome is both tragic and horrific…

This is a gothic story,a crime story and the story of the downfall of a human being. The bleak and haunting fens are a perfect background for this very atmospheric and mesmerizing story.

 

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain #DirtyLittleSecrets @QuercusBooks @SpainJoanne @MillsReid11

Dirty Little Secrets - Jo Spain

In a rather privileged gated estate called Withered Vale,a woman’s body is found in her cottage. Apparently she has been dead for three months and nobody of this small estate noticed anything. So Detective Frank Brazil and Detective Emma Child start their investigation into the death of Olive,one of the first inhabitants of this small community even before it became the living space for six more or less affluent families(singles,couples and families with children). Very quickly both detectives realise that all of the inhabitants have small(large and big)secrets and that kind Olive was perhaps no so kind and treasured as some would like them to believe. Each of these secrets are important on different levels but they do lead to weakened positions and uncomfortable situations. But the questions remains,who killed Olive?

Every chapter is told by a different inhabitant (including the deceased Olive) and it works perfectly,it keeps you guessing who the culprit is (as the whole lot are basically suspects) and the ending is definitely a surprise.

A very good mystery with strong and well developed characters,two very likeable detectives, Frank,close to his retirement and Emma,an ambitious young wolf.

Just sorry to hear that Frank is retiring…

 

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Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike Martin

Darkest Before the Dawn - Mike Martin

Newfoundland. A small town is confronted with the murder of a young loner and an attempted suicide of a young teenager. Sergeant Winston Wildflower and his(small)team have to solve this murder while he also has to take care of a B&B that he,his wife and their baby are starting up.

Well,I know this is supposed to be a cosy/cozy but this one definitely didn’t work for me. The mystery is hardly a mystery at all and the showdown is more than a bit of a let down.So what is left is endless talk about babies,their burbs,their noises and their diapers,detailed lunches(apparently Sergeant Winston finds time to go home for lunch notwithstanding the murder case),walks with the dog,tea/coffee breaks with goodies,shopping lists for a dinner party,the elaborated preparation of this menu and a detailed testimony of the tender love between husband and wife(and their baby).As this constitutes about 80% of the story it is hardly a mystery.

That said,I liked the characters(the sergeant and his team are well developed and very likeable )but I don’t think I belong to the targeted audience…