Blood on the Tracks edited by Martin Edwards

Blood on the Tracks - Various Authors, Martin Edwards

Anthologies are always a tricky business. All the stories in this volume have a common denominator ,a train,trainstation,railroad, train travel…all play a major part in their criminal make up. And it is true that trains and stations create a very special atmosphere. This collection consists of contributions by Athur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L.Sayers,Baroness Orczy,R.Austin Freeman,Will Croft and other highly talented mystery writers. Some of these stories are very good(The Mystery of Felwyn Tunnel,The Man with the Watch,The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway and many others…)and some were,well just average.

But as mentioned before,anthologies are tricky!

 

Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie

Appointment with Death (Masterpiece Edition Poirot) - Agatha Christie

There is not much point in repeating the storyline of this book as every Christie reader knows the story of a horrendous, cruel,terrorising (step)mother and her dysfunctional family. And as this is a Christie, murder must follow . Enter Hercule Poirot, who decides to give Colonel Carbury(a friend of Colonel Race) a helping hand and solve this crime.

I remember reading it as a young creature and thinking,Petra,wow,it seemed so far away,both in distance as in atmosphere. When years later,I finally visited Petra I was, apart from being mightily impressed, overcome by an acute attack of Christie nostalgia.

How fabulous it must have been,travelling in a small group,sleeping in a cave,having diner overlooking those red,orange and of course, pink cliffs and gazing upon this historical and mythical wonder in the sunset.

This was written in 1938 and it is still highly readable(of course our attitude towards”servants” and the original inhabitants has changed, although not all that much…) but notwithstanding this,and a very soppy epilogue, it is always such good fun reading Agatha Christie.

 

#LostAcre #RotherweirdTrilogy @JoFletcherBooks

Lost Acre - Andrew Caldecott

This is the third instalment of the Rotherweird trilogy. Evil is back in Rotherweird and it has a name, Gervon Wynter. As is seen all over this planet, some are charmed by this power and support his masterplan although not many of them have a clear view what this plan exactly represents. And then there is the Resistance,ordinary, well perhaps not so ordinary, townspeople and country people. Of course the weird city of Rotherweird, an Elizabethan anachronism, plays a major role in this story as do many major and minor characters. Still one of the best characters in these stories is the city of Rotherweird. It is slightly gothic,Dickensian, there is a touch of horror in it ,but it is foremost absolutely captivating. This world building ,although complex,is done with great skill and is one(of the many)attractive features. As this is the third part of the trilogy it is fair to warn the readers that this is definitely not a standalone novel. If you have not been introduced to Rotherweird and its quirkiness, nor to some history or characters it is really unreadable. And as with all trilogies, especially fantasy,you are either completely mesmerized by it or you absolutely hate it! Well,I was very happy that I read it as it gave me many hours of sometimes confusing,sometimes marvelous and very often amazing pleasure.

 

The Woman on the Cliff by Janice Frost

The Woman on The Cliff - JANICE FROST

1988. Five students at St. Andrews University share a house. It is clear that the five girls don’t all get along and that there are some tensions and disputes. But then Moira,a stunning,clever and a very confident girl is found murdered on a cliff path. Her boyfriend is charged with the murder but before the police can arrest him,he commits suicide leaving a note saying he killed her.

30 years later,Roz,one of those students returns to St. Andrews accompanying her daughter who is ready to start her studies. Roz meets Innes Nevin, one of the policeman of the original investigation. The murder of Moira has left a deep impact on him. He was never completely convinced of the culpability of the boyfriend. And very slowly they try to discover the truth behind this horrendous crime.

This is an easy reads that keeps your attention (perfect for a flight where you sit between a snoring bloke and a grumpy teenager) right until the denouement .Then the story becomes a bit messy,confusing and goes definitely over the top. And the explanations are not exactly crystal clear and satisfying. Pity…