'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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March 9, 2012

Two mysteries, read and recommended



Life's a little crazy at the moment {but in a good way}, so please forgive me if I'm squeezing in time for reading but not as much for writing about it. I did just finish two mysteries in series that I enjoy, one as an audiobook and one on paper. and I can recommend them both. 

The first is The Confession, the newest Inspector Rutledge mystery from Charles Todd (who is really the mother and son writing team of Charles and Caroline Todd).  These mysteries are set in the years just after World War I, when Rutledge returns to Scotland Yard after serving in the British army and tries to hide the fact that he is still suffering from shell shock.  The very clever twist to this series is Hamish McLeod, a young soldier who Rutledge ordered shot on the battlefield for refusing to fight, and who is still present as a taunting voice in Rutledge's head.  In this book, a man gravely ill with cancer comes to Scotland Yard to confess to killing another soldier, and as Rutledge investigates his claim, he finds himself very unwelcome, even threatened, in a strangely closed-off village, untangling a complicated set of relationships. {The only thing I can think of to mention about this installment, other than that I enjoyed it, is that Hamish seemed nicer in this one.}  I've been listening to last few of these as audiobooks, and they translate very well to that format.  I also have The Bitter Truth, the third book in his (their) new series, about Bess Crawford, queued up on my Ipod, but I haven't gotten to that one yet. 

The second, more eagerly awaited, book is Anatomy of Murder, Imogen Robertson's second book about Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther, set in the 1780s.   The first book in the series was one of my favorite books of last year, and though I definitely enjoyed this one {I just spent the last two hours happily finishing it with endless cups of tea in one long stint, as an, I think, very relaxing and well-deserved treat} it didn't bowl me over as much as that first one.  I think that's because the interesting characters and premise set up in the first book turn into the background for a more straightforward mystery in this one.  Harriet's sea-captain husband has returned home injured and mentally unstable, and as she waits in London for him to recover, she and Gabriel (now celebrated investigators) are called on to look into the death of an unpleasant man who is involved with an opera company and the famous castrato and soprano brought in to sing there.  But the writing is very good, again, and I'm already looking forward to the next book, which hasn't been published here yet.



2 comments:

Lisa May said...

I've enjoyed all three of the Bess Crawford novels, and I'm hoping for a new one in the fall (though I can't figure out her relationship with Simon), but I haven't read any of the Ian novels yet. A friend who's read both says the Ian novels are darker, though it sounds like Hamish adds some (dark) comedy.

galant said...

I've enjoyed the Bess Crawford novels by Charles Todd (the mama and son writing duo)and I got half way through Anatomy of a Murder and then put it to one side, might take it up again now ... I was enjoying it, can't think why I put it to one side and took up something else!
If you like Charles Todd and Imogen Robertson then you might also like the novels of Charles Finch and his Victorian gentleman sleuth, Charles Lennox. But read them in publication order as the back story develops.
However, I would say that while Charles Finch does well to create the Victorian atmosphere of London, and I know he's writing mainly for his American readers, it would be better if he didn't use words like "gotten" which would not have been in a Victorian gentleman's vocabulary. Also, we say railway and not railroad, pavement and not sidewalk, door step, not stoop, and so forth. I'm sure Americans know this, just as much as we know that an American vest is our waistcoat, their pants are our trousers. Underwear in the UK are vest and pants, outer garments are waistcoat, jacket and trousers. Little differences, but getting these incorrect can marr what are otherwise excellent stories, well written.
Margaret P

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