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…

 

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.

 

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…

 

The Bone Fire by S.D.Sykes

The Bone Fire - S. D. Sykes

1361. Oswald de Lacy,Lord of Somershill,is forced to leave his estate because the plague is coming uncomfortably closer. So with his wife,his young son and his cantankerous mother,he seeks refuge in the isolated castle of Godfrey of Eden,on the Isle of Eden. The castle, perched on a lonely cliff is surrounded by nothing but marsh. But Godfrey has other problems than the plague. He has a layabout brother,is suspicious and has very strong religious beliefs. To his mind the plague,apart from heralding the end of the world, is also the punishment of God upon humanity and especially upon the church and the clergy. Oswald and his family are not the only ones seeking refuge in this cold and bleak castle. From the first night tensions run high and the atmosphere is somewhat unpleasant. And then Godfrey is murdered. Oswald takes it upon himself to discover the murderer(s) but only encounters more mysteries and more deaths. I remember reading the first book,The Plague Land, in this series and I wasn’t completely enchanted by it. So,I was a bit apprehensive when I started The Bone Fire,but there was really no reason for it. It is a classic mystery story in a historical (and his this case,haunting )setting. It is well written,the characters are well defined and well,I just wanted to finish it. And then I felt a bit sorry that it was finished…Always a good sign!