Crooks Hollow by Robert Parker

Crook's Hollow - Robert Parker

Someone is trying to kill Thorn Loxley,the estranged youngest son of a farmer dynasty. And then they try again and he decides to deal with this ordeal all by himself. This rural community is somewhat in turmoil,There are developers on the horizon and Thorn owns the deeds to a piece of land that is needed so this company can create a housing estate. The other grounds are owned by another farmer dynasty, the Crook family and needless to say,they are at daggers drawn. And so the attempts to murder Thorn continue… The storyline is not bad and it has a certain potential but none of the characters feel real,they are all so shallow. The book(not really the story)feels immature. And the end is absolutely over the top. Really over the top. Sometimes a good editor is a blessing…

 

 

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

The Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway Mysteries) - Elly Griffiths

Ruth Galloway,a forensic archaeologist,goes to Italy at the request of a Italian colleague (and a former one-night stand). Bones have been found at an excavation that raise a lot of(historical)questions. While Ruth stays in a medieval village in the Lazio region,she is confronted with the strange behaviour of certain characters and of course,murder.
This is the 10th book in this series and as with all series,the quality is somewhat variable. The mystery of the Dark Angel feels like a frame story to the story of Ruth’s relationship with the father of her daughter,a married D.I.,who’s wife is pregnant but perhaps not by him(on/off,on/off, I want you,no,I don’t….)Perhaps closure of this particularly relationship might be a good thing for both the characters and for the storyline.

 

(not quite)Mastering the Art of French Living by Mark Greenside

(Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living - Mark Greenside8

An American buys a house in Brittany (it really doesn’t matter, it could have been Provence,Dordogne,Auvergne…)and is confronted with the inhabitants and their very local habits. Fair enough,but what I don’t get is that the author has spent 2 months every year in Brittany for 25 years and his vocabulary still doesn’t reach beyond bonjour and bonsoir. A copy of French for Dummies would be very appropriate. The result is that both the author and the French sound like complete idiots. Not very respectful towards your adoptive country,is it? And there are some grammatical errors (not the author’s)for instance : probléme instead of problème. Apparently the editor also needed a copy of French for Dummies ). Still,there are some passages in this book that definitely made me smile,always a good thing…but it has been done before and so much better…

 

 

Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

Dark waters - Mary-Jane Riley

Two men are found dead on a little cruiser moored in the Norfolk broads(small waterways surrounded by marshes,meadows and woodland).
At first sight it looks like a suicide pact,although a strange one as both men don’t seem to have a lot in common. Alex Devlin,a not so very successful journalist,is intrigued by the setup and starts digging….the past has an ugly habit to emerge when you don’t expect it…
What makes this a fabulous read,apart from a very good storyline that keeps you guessing,is the personality of the main character. Yes,she is a nosy journalist,but she is not a monster,she feels guilt,empathy,compassion. It is a welcome change to all the detectives,inspectors,reporters,amateur sleuths who are arrogant, so sure of themselves, rude or absolutely obnoxious…I really liked it !

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons

Broken Bones - Angela Marsons

D.I.Kim Stone is a rather well known character(especially to crime (book)lovers) and this is the seventh in the series. The book consist of several storylines that do relate (more or less)to each other. There is a serial killer targeting sex workers, an abandoned baby,a frozen unknown man, illegal workers and a missing young girl. And although it works,it is also the main problem.Four policepeople (including D.I.Stone)take on this whole load of misery.

It just doesn’t feel right. There is just too much going on.

Mind you, the outcome of one of the cases is surprising and very interesting.

 

The Well of Youth by E.J.Dawson

The Well of Youth: The Last Prophecy Series 1 - E.J.Dawson

Although this is listed as a fantasy story it is much more an adventure story. True, the story is set in an imaginary world but it is a very recognisable one. Professor Holloran went missing when he left on a mission to follow some ancient texts referring to a well of youth, allegedly giving eternal life to the lucky drinker of this magical water. So the government sends out a dashing female captain, the professor’s favourite student Andy and another scholar named Osewyn to find both the professor and the well. What follows is an adventure that features a marvellous ship called Juggernaut, an encounter with a Kraken,pirates,ice covered landscapes, huskies and colourful characters. This is the first in the trilogy and as said before, it is a great adventure story.

 

The Gate Keeper by Charles Todd

The Gate Keeper - Charles Todd

Set in the early twenties,this book just breathes golden age with a very modern twist. A very perturbed inspector, suffering from post-war trauma, finds himself involved in a mysterious murder(a man stops a car in the middle of the night and shoots the chauffeur ). Not only does he needs to solve the case,he is also confronted with a certain animosity from the villagers and the local constabulary. This is a perfect read for lovers of the British detective story (villages,gentry, murder…)but this is definitely not a soppy read. Good story,right atmosphere and good characterisation. Very good.

 

Lament for a Maker by Michael Innes

A Scottish castle,an isolated village,quirky villagers and an eccentric Lord. All the right ingredients for a classic mystery. The story is made up of different parts told by different characters. And it works were it not for the first character who writes as he speaks with plenty of Scottish words and expressions. Not always evident…Still the storyline is good and the outcome of the mystery is not obvious. 3,5 stars

A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee

A Necessary Evil - Abir Mukherjee

Calcutta, 1920.India is going trough an agitated period. The Congress Party is having more and more supporters and even non-followers believe that the British Rule is past its use by date.In these confusing times,Prince Adhir,crown prince of Sambalpore is murdered after an official ceremony with the Viceroy. Soon after this,the killer takes his own life. Captain Wyndham and his Indian sergeant Surendranath(a Harrow and Cambridge man no less and a friend of the murdered prince)find that all tracks lead to Sambalpore, a small kingdom with the added benefit of fabulous diamond mines.There is definitely no lack of suspects,reasons or intrigues and the investigation is not as obvious as expected.

The outcome is surprising and interesting. But what makes this an absolute wonderful book is the atmosphere. The colonial house of the British Resident,of course the palace of the Maharaja,the temples,the religious festivals,the lifestyle of this royal family,eunuchs and the zenana, the monsoon period,a golden locomotive loaded with bottles of champagne that runs the length of the dinner table,the gossip and the decline of both the British Raj and these small kingdoms. A wonderful Indian mystery story!

 

Murder has a Motive by Francis Duncan

Murder Has A Motive - Francis Duncan

A classic setting,an enchanting English village with well defined residents and of course murder! Luckily Mordecai Tremaine is visiting some friends in this village and as an amateur sleuth he is more than willing to lend a helping hand to inspector Boyce. It is a nice classic detective story but perhaps a bit long winded (and some clues were not very hard to miss!!)