Monday, 2 July 2012

Books #27 - #31

So much for blogger saving draft posts. This is the second time I've written this. Curse you blogger!
 Boston: Storrow Drive - Reverse the Curse

#27 Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance
by Gyles Brandreth

A rather odd story full of juxtapositions - sexuality vs abstinence, poor vs rich, adoration vs loathing, london vs paris etc. Oscar starts the book by discovering a murder but doesn't tell anyone or report it until the body has been removed and the netire room stripped and polished. With beeswax. Conan Doyle again turns up and Oscar's similarity to Sherlock and then Mycroft Holmes is emphasised as he jumps about coming to all sorts of conclusions. The charactors in this are well written but I have some toruble believing that so many of them could be such good liars. Lies are very tiring and hard to keep track of, in my experience.

#28 I am the only Running Footman
by Martha Grimes

A Martha Grimes book and a good one. These books all look like they'll be typical 'cosies' until you get into them. They're intelligent and well written with wit and good character development. By the end you expect to find out whodunnit but it's not always the way with this series and this is one where I ended up reading the ending a few times over because it was so ambiguous. After reading four in a go a few years back I was astonished to find out the author is american and lives somewhere like Texas. She writes of London and the countryside with utter conviction. These tend to be out of print in the UK but are current in the US. If you find one in a second hand shop I'd definitely recommend it.

#29 Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood
by Christopher Fowler

Oooof, I do love these books. Again these are set very firmly in England but usually very much in London and the author is himself a Londoner this time. The last two were based more or less within the underground tube system while this one keeps us above ground and plays around with the Punch and Judy stories. A powerful man - is he being punished or is he living out his own passion? The usual inhabitants of the Peculiar Crimes Unit are in place along with several favourites including the amazingly long suffering Alma who explains very calmly at one point how being Bryant's housekeeper is her way of showing respect to God. I would recommend this series to anyone at great length.

#30 The Case of the Murdered Muckraker
by Carola Dunn

Oh dear. Sometimes an otherwise reliable author drops something like this into the mix. Personally I try to tell myself they had received an unexpected tax bill or needed to pay a ransom or something, because otherwise they never would have wanted this published in their name. Daisy is in some part of america - her husband is in another. I can't remember why now. It's not really important. Except I think they're on honeymoon. I wish I'd honeymooned somewhere different to where Pooch did. Anyway. She sees someone get shot and fall down a lift shaft. And so she drags herself into the investigation and gets in the way and some stuff happens and they end up flying cross country in a plane piloted by...a black woman pilot! I almost stopped reading this one. I'm just glad it was a library book because it would have depressed me to have bought it.

#31 The Lamorna Wink
by Martha Grimes

I only finished this one last night so it is still very much with me and kind of echoing around my head as I go back over what happened. My only criticism would be that there wasn't enough Jury. But in his absence you got to see how the individual characters acted without him so it was quite clever to do that. Melrose has gone to Cornwall to view a property he saw in a magazine and to try and get away from his ghastly Aunt. Two small children drowned there with their bodies found hand in hand four years earlier and now there has been another death and a disappearance and Macalvie is on the case. As with #28 these books are a delight. This one does have a definite culprit but how things were done and turned out the way they did is multi-layered and complicated and haunting. It sounds trite but these are the kind of books where you regret they have finished and miss their absence.

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