Unto us a Son is Given by Donna Leon

Unto Us a Son Is Given (Commissario Brunetti #28) - Donna Leon

An elderly family friend of his father-in-law and therefore of Commissario Guido Brunetti, contemplates adopting an adult man. His father-in-law asks Brunetti to intervene or at least talk some sense into the very wealthy,eighty-five year old Gonzalo. This adopted son would be the sole beneficiary of a more than substantial inheritance. But he is not the only one who looks upon this scheme with disguised,or not,horror. When Gozalo,while visiting his estranged family in Spain, unexpectedly dies from a brain haemorrhage waters start to stir in Venice. And old friend comes to Venice so she can organise a memorial service but just hours after her arrival she is found strangled in her hotel room. It is Brunetti’s task to unravel any connection between Gonzalo and this victim and to find a murderer…. A Donna Leon novel hardly starts with murder and mayhem on page one,and it is not different here. And sometimes this slowly building up of both the story and the tension works and sometimes it doesn’t and it is not to everyone’s liking (this is by the way the 28th in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series,quite a feat…),but here it all comes together perfectly. It captures and keeps the attention and the curiosity of the reader well. The characters are well developed and it feels very (Venetian) Italian(food,way of life…) And then there is Venice,not exactly heaven on earth and not exactly inhabited by angels ,but still fascinating and intriguing enough to play a discreet leading role in this series. Yes,both Brunetti and Venice are back on track…

 

A January Killing by Paul Toolan

A January Killing: Detective Inspector Zig Batten 2 - Paul Toolan

It is an exceptional cold winter in Stockton Marsh where Wassail is celebrated, a pagan blessing of the apple orchards ,topped with plenty of cider,but this happy gathering is overshadowed by the death of one of the participants. Late as usual, he is found dead in the same orchard. We are quickly informed that his wife received an anonymous letter and that other letters are being distributed. It is clear that the Inspector Zig Batten and his team have to find a serial writer/murderer. The setting of a rural community in rural Somerset is very attractive, the characters, both main characters and bystanders are well developed but we are confronted by several POV’s and they all seem to talk to themselves Ex.: “You’ve got to stop doing this,Zig.Doing what Zig? This hanging about ,where dead bodies are”. Unfortunately several of them appear in the same chapter and blend into each other. Frankly,apart from being confusing is it also,and this is very personal,very annoying. Fact is,the storyline is full of opportunities but somehow it didn’t deliver. Mind you,it has a very attractive cover…

 

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,an 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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