The Bone Jar by S W Kane

The Bone Jar

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London is groaning under a severe snowstorm and Siberian temperatures when the body of an elderly woman is found in an isolated ward of an abandoned and derelict asylum. As soon as Detective Lew Kirby and his partner Pete Anderson start their investigation a second body is found in the River Thames. It soon becomes clear that the past of Blackwater Asylum ,with its tragedies,rumours and whispers,is to play a major part towards the solving of these crimes.
It is a good story and the setting,an abandoned asylum during wintertime,is fabulously atmospheric. The writing is sound and the two detectives are likeable and believable. But,there is always a but,there are so many storylines who are, some closely and some marginally, interweaved that it becomes a tad confusing and it does not always lead to a better story.
And then some secondary storylines are left unsolved ,probably for a second episode, but ,barring a fantasy trilogy, I don’t really like that kind of open ending.

Death in White Pyjamas/Death Knows no Calendar by John Bude

Death in White Pyjamas: & Death Knows No Calendar (British Library Crime Classics Book 76)

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In the first story a set designer is found dead near a lake dressed in white pyjamas and ,of course, almost everybody has a sound reason to hate her. And ” everybody ” means a troupe of actors,a director and a wealthy supporter. The setting,a country house and the colourful characters are part of the charm. However when it comes to suspense it did not quite deliver the goods. It was really not difficult to guess who the culprit was.
As for the second story,it was basically a locked room mystery. A rather fearsome woman ,who had more than her share of enemies,is found murdered in her locked studio in the garden. Here again it was not really difficult to find the murderer. But once it was established who the miscreant was the amateur sleuth, in this case a Major Boddy,needs to find proof and this drags on and on…The solution to the murder or more precisely the “how” is impossible to guess as the reader does not get any clues.
All in all,two charming stories (country house, quirky characters, English summer garden…) but not quite successful ones when it comes to mystery and suspense.
John Bude has better stories to tell…

How to Draw Almost Everything volume 2

How to Draw Almost Everything Volume 2: An Illustrated Sourcebook

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How to draw…the title says it all,even complete unhandy “artists” like myself manage to draw a reasonable recognizable dog,flower,plate of food…
The layout is absolutely spot on with it’s very clear lines and bright colours.
Don’t expect to emerge as a new Rembrandt but if your are looking for some good fun with a couple of crayons then this is a good choice!

Death in Delft by Graham Brack

Death in Delft - Graham Brack

The story is set in the beautiful city of Delft during the Golden Age of the Netherlands . Three eight year old girls are missing. One of them is found buried in a field just outside the city. The city council of Delft asks Master Mercurius of the University of Leiden to assist them in recovering the girls and solving this crime. Mercurius is a far from perfect character. For one thing ,he is a protestant minister and an ordained catholic priest which is not always an easy marriage in the 17th century low countries. But he is very likeable, intelligent and disarmingly naive. He also meets some very interesting people among which Johannes Vermeer,the painter,and Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek,the founder of modern microbiology. And there is the city of Delft in the background of course. You know with some books that as soon as you start reading them that they are going to be alright (or more than alright). Historical mystery fiction is not always a perfect blend between the different parts. Sometimes there is not enough historical data,sometimes there is just too much and the mystery story just disappears in a swamp (or in this case perhaps a canal) of titbits and not relevant facts. But here it really ticked off and all the boxes. The setting,in the dead of winter,was both enchanting and a bit eerie. Sometimes it felt as if I was walking through one of Vermeer’s paintings. The slippery cobblestones,the dykes,the wind mills and the endless sky hovering over the frost covered fields. Perhaps one little remark,nothing to do with the quality of the story,but the frozen fields,icy sleet and biting wind makes this a perfect read for the winter.