Death at Beacon Cottage by Betty Rowlands

Death at Beacon Farm - Betty Rowlands

Sukey Reynolds, a civil scene of crime photographer who is working for the police,is called to Bussell Manor to investigate a break in and the theft of several expensive pieces of art. Apparently burglaries in expensive,”arty “houses are a bit of an epidemic in the Cotswolds. The main suspect however seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth while his two partners in crime are found murdered. And then there is also the case of mistaken identity which puts Sukey’s life in danger, This is a cross between a “cosy”and a classic mystery and it works up to a point. But then international criminal gangs,dark mafiosi style characters,hitmen…. make their appearance and it loses some of its charm and credibility (e.g. DI Jim Castle,Sukey’s boyfriend freely discusses the case with Sukey(a civilian)in front of her son Fergus,there is somewhere a Miami Vice environment …). It didn’t feel right. I have another Sukey Reynolds book on my TBR list and perhaps there is a little bit less incongruence…

 

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.