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.

 

Death on a Quiet Day by Michael Innes

Death on a Quiet Day - Michael Innes

David Henchman,a young undergraduate,several other young cubs and their tutor are participating in a reading party. In the morning they pore over texts and in the afternoon they climb hills and discover Dartmoor ‘s treasures. One morning David visits Knack Tor with its magnificent views. When he finally, after a stiff climb,arrives at the top he is not alone. A corpse awaits him there. He then calls for help and manages to attract the attention of a casual passerby. But this hiker seems to have an altogether different agenda. What follows is a wilde chase through heather ,moors,meadows and country lanes. When David finally finds himself in a more safe environment, Inspector Appleby enters the story… I’ve read novels by Michael Innes before and it always amounts to the same thing,sometimes the storyline is definitely worthwhile and sometimes it is all over the place. More than one third of the book consists of young David’s adventures while being chased by the assailants. It feels as if it never going to end and when it finally does, we are confronted by spies and not very intelligent or successful ones. There is definitely a boy scout feeling about. Fine if you like it but it didn’t really work for me.

 

Storm of Secrets by Loretta Marion

⭐⭐⭐

Storm of Secrets (Haunted Bluffs Mystery #2) - Loretta Marion

A storm is closing in the Cape Cod and the small town of Whale Rock and everybody is preparing for this natural disaster. But just before the storm hits the land,a small time drugs dealer is found dead in a dumpster and a toddler has gone missing. So the local police force and Daniel Benjamin a retired FBI agent(and groom to be)have their work cut out for them. Meanwhile Cassie Mitchell,a bride whose wedding has been postponed due to the stormy weather,welcomes several local residents and visitors ,whose houses are in a danger zone ,in her house “The Bluffs” where the ghosts of her great-grandparents have taken up residence . There is another story of another boy whose body washed up on the shore,some 20 years ago, but who was never identified. It is clear that this story still attracts some attention. There is a mysterious woman who visits his grave,a local writer trying to make a book out of this tragic story and a visitor who also has some keen interest in the unknown boy. There is yet another storyline going back to the sixties,eighties and present day, about an immigrant Italian family and their tribulations in the US. The mystery side of the story is not bad but there are so many sidelines and so many things going on …paternity quests,diaries,ghosts,paintings,pregnancies,illness,beach houses,party guests,lost(or forgotten)lovers,drugs,lost boys both from the past and the present,damaged young men…it is just too much. Of course,it didn’t help that I couldn’t connect with the amateur sleuth,Cassie. She is opinionated,judgemental, nosy(ok,that’s normal for a sleuth…),not very discreet and even rude sometimes. But the setting is great,a small town of the Cape Cod coast,flooded by merry vacationers in the summer and pretty restful in the winter. And that is a great start full of promises.

 

The Body on the Beach by Anna Johannson

The Body on the Beach (An Island Mystery #1) - Anna Johannsen, Lisa Reinhardt

The body  of Hein Bohlen,a social educator and the director of a local children’s home,is found dead in a beach chair on Amrum, a small island of the coast of North Germany. At first sight it looks as if the man has died of a heart attack,but his wife has doubts and demands a post mortem where poison is suspected but not confirmed. DI Lena Lorenzen and sergeant Johann Grassman are sent to this beautiful island to investigate this death. They both realise that not everything is as it should be and that the alleged victim and other inhabitants have some very disturbing secrets indeed…

This is a very pleasant mystery situated on the gorgeous island of Amrum but perhaps the end was a bit too predictable.

Still,this is the first in the series,in English at least, and I will definitely try another one.