December 2020 ~ What are you reading?

ForumCrime, Thriller & Mystery

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December 2020 ~ What are you reading?

Dez. 1, 2020, 4:46pm

Still reading Dark Highway by Lisa Gray.

Dez. 1, 2020, 4:56pm

Back of Beyond by C. J. Box - the second Cody Hoyt novel (which the publisher keep calling a standalone - anything not in Box's main series is called standalone by his publisher... ). Not that it cannot be read as a standalone but if you read it before the first one, you get spoilers for the first one... and it gets worse as this small series continues.

Dez. 2, 2020, 11:22am

A Geek Girl's Guide to Justice by Julie Anne Lindsey
#3 Geek Girl Mysteries
c. 2019

Mia Connors is the IT manager in the gated community of Horseshoe Falls, Ohio. He is also co-owner of her grandmother's beauty products company, as well as half owner with her best friend of an online game called Reign. Mia's life is hectic. Her twin sister is about to have another baby and puts Mia in charge of the baby shower, just a small affair of 200 people. Then one evening a friend of her grandmother is found dying in the pond at Horseshow Falls. Mia tries to revive him, but she was too late. Mia goes on the search to find out the killer to put her grandma's mind at ease.

I really enjoyed this book. the characters, settings and action were well done. It was fast moving and fun.

Dez. 2, 2020, 4:27pm

I finished The Crust on Its Uppers by Derk Raymond. Published in 1962, The Crust on Its Uppers is a sly takedown of the British upper class disguised as a noir caper novel. The protagonist a young man with the advantages of that upper class background and education, has become disillusioned with what he sees of the rot, the lack of joi de vivre and purpose, of that class, and has submerged himself instead in the South London grime scene of con men, sharks and shady players. Dark bars, drugs, booze and dodgy business dealings fuel the scene. Readers have to fight their way through Raymond's use of London rhyming slang, and often I found myself just sort of skating along on top of that, going with the rhythm and the flow instead of worrying about the meaning of every word or phrase. Never did I feel like I didn't know what was going on, however, plus my edition had a handy glossary that I used sometimes more and sometimes less. The first half of this relatively short novel is more of a character/class study than anything else, with the caper part of the proceedings not really getting going until about the midway point.

The caper itself, once it gets going, is handled well and kept me turning pages. I noted that once that action commences, Raymond (whose real name was Robin Cook, in case anyone's keeping score) dispenses to a significant degree, with reliance on slang.

I enjoyed this read experience, and I believe the book has standing as one of the first examples of London noir. The story is seedy and dark, but often funny, and I never found it to be cynical.

Dez. 2, 2020, 5:17pm

At the top of the month I finished The Traveller and Other Stories, by Stuart Neville. Very noir in a good way. I may have overindulged by reading the whole book in a day, though.

Next up in crime will likely be The Glass Room, by Ann Cleeves, or The Less Dead, by Denise Mina. Sometimes I envy Zaphod Beeblebrox his two heads; he could read two books at literally the same time! (Not that he actually did, but he was capable of it.)

Dez. 3, 2020, 10:02am

Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower

Dez. 5, 2020, 3:20pm

Finished Dark Highway by Lisa Gray. Liked it well enough.

Added Don't Ever Forget by Matthew Farrell to my rotation.

Dez. 5, 2020, 6:25pm

Finished The Glass Room and immediately requested Harbour Street from the library.

While I wait, I'll start The Less Dead.

Dez. 6, 2020, 10:35am

Finished The Less Dead. I like books that I can finish in an evening.

Next up in thrillers: Stalking Point, by Duncan Kyle, which I bought entirely because of the giant yellow seaplane on the cover.

Dez. 10, 2020, 2:33pm

Finished Don't Ever Forget by Matthew Farrell. Meh. Not the book I was in the mood for.

Dez. 11, 2020, 9:46am

Reading Bloody Genius by John Sandford. I do love his books and Virgil Flowers is a great character. Enjoying it very much so far

Dez. 11, 2020, 3:16pm

Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower
c. 2016
#2 Magical Bookshop Mystery
4 *

Violet Waverly has moved back home to Cascade Springs, NY. She is the new Caretaker of the birch tree which grows in the middle of the bookstore which she and her Grandma Daisy own. The tree's essence helps Violet pick the right books for customers and also gives help when solving murders. On the first day of Crystal Spring's Food and Wine Festival one of the members of a writing group "Red Inkers" falls down the back steps of the bookstore. She was wearing a period costume in preparation for a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Violet found her at the bottom of the steps, and there was an unusual scent of strawberry about the dead writer. The police suspect Sadie, the proprietor of Midcentury Vintage clothing and Red Inker. Violet sets out to help solve the mysterious death.

I really enjoy the characters in this series. They are slightly quirky, but not outlandishly so. The action is relatively fast paced. The dialogue is witty and not the least bit contrived sounding. I'm really liking this series.

Dez. 11, 2020, 4:38pm

Just finished a book I've had sitting on my shelf for 10 years. A friend whose taste I trust passed it on to me but somehow it never rose to the top of the pile until now. Interior by Lisa See is quite a fascinating look at American manufacturing in China--lots of money to be made but some entrepreneurs want to shave off even more creating dangerous working conditions.

Dez. 11, 2020, 7:43pm

Now reading Man Overboard!, by Freeman Wills Crofts. I have four Crofts books out from the library; these are reprints the library ordered all at the same time, so naturally they came in at the same time.

Dez. 14, 2020, 2:04pm

I finished Fun and Deadly Games by Don Tracy. It only took me one rainy Sunday afternoon and evening to make my way through this enjoyable mystery. This is the third book in Don Tracy's Giff Speer mystery series. Speer is an investigator in a department of the U.S. Army so secret that only a few higher-ups in the Security Community even know if its existence. An army widow and her 18-year-old step-daughter are living near an Air Force base in rural Florida. The presumed dead husband/father had disappeared in Saigon on the night that of the coup that overthrew the Diem regime. They are at this remote Florida locale because the mom is trying to land one of the base generals as a new husband. The step-daughter becomes involved in civil rights demonstrations, drawing the enmity of the local pseudo-Klan. And someone is harassing either the mother or daughter or both. A strangled dog, snakes in the mailbox, even the occasional cross burning. Giff Speer is sent, undercover as a handyman, to figure it all out and keep everyone safe. There are an impressive amount of plot twists and turns for a 144 pulp paperback novel. All in all, I call this a fun, fuzzily plausible (but anyway, who looks too hard at these things?) mystery.

Dez. 14, 2020, 7:33pm

Indulging in a re-read: An Overdose of Death, by Agatha Christie.

Dez. 19, 2020, 12:20pm

Havent posted for a while but recently finished Scandinavian Noir In Pursuit of a Mystery by Wendy Lesser. Not a mystery, crime or thriller but I think will be of interest to those who read crime novels from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The author has seemingly read them all. In the first part (Fiction as Reality) she discusses the picture that the novels paint of Scandinavian society and crime. In the second (Reality as Fiction), she visits (for the first time) Scandinavia and seeks places mentioned in the novels and talks with the police. In the last, she presents an annotated list of Scandinavian crime novets. The Martin Beck series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo and the Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell are her favorites. I have read a few of both and am motivated to reread the entire series though I seldom have the patience to read through an entire series.

Just finished Dread Journey by Dorothy B. Hughes a wonderful, underappreciated crime writer of the 40's. Dread Journey is about a group of Hollywood passengers travelling cross country on a luxury train. One of them gets murdered, but not till the end, with a twist. It is the creeping sense of dread as the journey proceeds that makes the novel special.

Dez. 19, 2020, 1:54pm

After several months of not cracking open the Jack Harvey omnibus I borrowed from a friend (pre-pandemic), I finally started Bleeding Hearts today.

Dez. 19, 2020, 2:19pm

In the still of the Night by Jill Churchill
#2 Grace and Favor Mystery
c. 1999
3 *

Siblings Lily and Robert Brewster inherited Grace and Favor Cottage from their Great Uncle Horatio, but the inheritance came with stipulations. They had to live there 10 years, the upkeep was paid by the estate, but Lily and Robert had to be self-supporting. Considering that they had no marketable skills and jobs were few and far between during the Depression year of 1932, they decided to become a sort of Bed and Breakfast location for the wealthy. They were lucky enough to get the famous author, Julian West, to be among their first paying guests. However, the next morning one of the guests, a beautiful 50-something widow was found murdered in her room. Lily set out to solve the murder, as it seemed that there was more to her guests than met the eye...

A nice quick cozy mystery with interesting background on Pres. Hoover, the Depression and the aftermath of The Great War.

Dez. 21, 2020, 10:57am

Love for Sale by Jill Churchill
#4 Grace and Favor Mystery
4 *

This series gets better and better. I so enjoy all the historical background, especially that of the building of the Hoover Dam and the election of FDR. Churchill's writing style is a pleasure to read.

Siblings Lily and Robert Brewster have inherited their Great Uncle's estate and mansion , Grace and Favor Cottage. In order to support themselves in 1932 upstate New York, they have decided to take in boarders. A mysterious man comes to the door and rents rooms for the weekend for an outrageously large amount of money. Lily couldn't afford to waste the opportunity. With trepidation the siblings decide to agree on the mysterious renters. Meanwhile the local school principal is in desperate need of a substitute teacher, as her 5/6 grade teacher needed to leave for an appendix operation. Lily and Robert agree to split the teaching position until the teacher returns, as it is a paying position. However, the mysterious weekend renter is found stabbed to death in the bathtub. Chief of Police Howard Walker sets out to find the murderer with the help of Lily.

Dez. 22, 2020, 12:39pm

Rereading The Saddlemaker's Wife, which is one of Earlene Fowler's finest: a stand-alone instead of an entry in her Bennie Harper series.

Dez. 26, 2020, 9:38pm

Started Thin Air, by Ann Cleeves.

Dez. 28, 2020, 3:41pm

Added The Shark by Mary Burton to my rotation.

Dez. 28, 2020, 4:33pm

Started The Siberian Dilemma today. It’s the latest in the Arcady Renko series.

Dez. 29, 2020, 9:17am

Blood Is Blood was under the Christmas tree. I've been missing Barker and Llewellyn and they're off to a rollicking start...looks like Thomas may be taking the lead in this installment.

Dez. 29, 2020, 11:31pm

It had to be You by Jill Churchill
#5 Grace and Favor Mystery
c. 2004
3 1/2 *s

This is another great addition to the Grace and Favor Mystery series. Siblings Lily and Robert Brewster are helping out at a nursing home, until one of the workers starts feeling better. The first day there, one of the residents is found dead, smothered with a pillow. The odd thing was that he would probably have died later that day due to a severe infection. chief of Police Howard Walker is called upon to investigate. The new widow, a statuesque strong woman, was furious that her husband died before planting season could get underway. Howard was investigating several other suspects. Meanwhile, Robert decided that the nursing home needed a dumb waiter, to lessen the workload in the large 2 story house. An interesting tale of greed, hate, and dysfunctional families. I am very sad that there is only one morr published book in the series.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 1, 10:28pm

It has been a while since I posted, but recent reads include:

Poison in the Parish, by Milward Kennedy
Let Me Lie, by Clare Mackintosh
Her Final Words, by Brianna Labuskes
Still Life, by Val McDermid
The Postscript Murders, by Elly Griffiths
The Benefit of Hindsight: Simon Serrailler Book 10, by Susan Hill
The Survivors: A Novel, by Jane Harper
The Port of London Murders, by Josephine Bell
A Howl of Wolves: A Mystery (Sam Clair Book 4), by Judith Flanders
The Three Fears (The Doctor Westlake Mysteries Book 3), by Jonathan Stagge
Death's Old Sweet Song (The Doctor Westlake Mysteries Book 2), by Jonathan Stagge
The Green-Eyed Monster, by Patrick Quentin

Edit: And I seem to have lost my touch with the touchstones! Will see if they fix themselves later...

Dez. 30, 2020, 6:17am

not sure where to post this, I want to remember mystery writers we have lost recently:

-- Sue Henry - died November 20, 2020
-- Parnell Hall - died December 15, 2020

Dez. 30, 2020, 8:50am

>27 mvo62: The touchstones have been quite fussy lately!

What did you think of The Port of London Murders? I added it to my to-read list solely because it was being republished by the British Library Crime Classics imprint :)

Dez. 30, 2020, 11:51am

>27 mvo62: Ooh, I didn't realize there was a fourth Sam Clair book! My library only had the first three when I found them on the shelves. I'll have to order a copy from the library. I'm so excited!

Dez. 31, 2020, 10:11am

Finished The Shark by Mary Burton. Liked it better than I thought I would.

Dez. 31, 2020, 5:19pm

Last book for the year'

War and Peas by Jill Churchill
#8 Jane Jeffry mystery
c. 1996

This is a reread, and I started in the middle of the series, as I can't find the first 7 books packed away. Anyway... Jane Jeffry and her best friend, Shelly Nowack, volunteer at the local museum. The Sneeden Museum is dedicated to peas among other things, so it sponsors the local Pea Festival. This year, a Civil War enactment needed volunteer extras, and among them are Shelly and Jane. Unfortunately, during the reenactment, someone used live ammunition causing a death. The death put the museum into chaos as the death made no sense. Shelly and Jane set about finding the reason, as they didn't want to be volunteering in a place which might have a murderer lurking about. This was a fun fast read. Plenty of tiny clues were given to help the reader solve the mystery.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 1, 10:29pm

>29 rabbitprincess: I really liked The Port of London Murders - gave it 4/5. I have read a few books by the author - mostly medical mysteries, from memory...

I could edit the touchstones in my previous post, but the "The Survivors", by Jane Harper is still dodgy and the touchstones are behaving badly again.
Edit: "The Survivors" link is behaving now.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 1, 10:30pm

>30 Julie_in_the_Library: So was I - I came across it while looking for something else, as often happens. Loved it - 4/5.