Monday, December 31, 2007

2007, AN OVERVIEW

Total books read: 152
Of which DNF: 0
Of which marked 5 or higher: 35
Books with 5+ or more were:
* BROTHER GRIMM by Craig Russell
* THE COLD MOON by Jeffrey Deaver
* THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield
* SAME SWEET GIRLS by Cassandra King
* THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
* THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEATH by Kevin Brockmeier
* RAVEN BLACK by Ann Cleeves
* PARDONABLE LIES by Jacqueline Winspear
* JULIA'S CHOCOLATES by Cathy Lamb
* GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen

My favourite book of the year was THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak, the only book I ever awarded a 6.

GARDEN SPELLS

TITLE: GARDEN SPELLS
AUTHOR: SARAH ADDISON ALLEN
Pages: 288
Date: 31/12/2007
Grade: 5
Library

The Waverley women and the Waverley garden have always been magical, which makes the Waverleys stand apart from the general community.
Claire Waverley has embraced this Waverley-ness ever since she was six, and has now reached the stage where anything outside her small world doesn't seem to fit.
Sydney has fled Bascom and the Waverley legacy as soon as she could. But now, a violent relationship brings her and her young daughter back home.
Reunited, Claire and Sydney have to redefine their lives, while getting to know each other as they didn't do when they were children.
Claire has to learn to trust other people and their feelings as well as herself and her emotions. And Sydney has to learn that being a Waverley is a good thing, that home is a safe place and not all people out to get her.
A common enough story, set in magical surroundings making it anything but common.
A fabulous read to end the year on a high.

"You are who you are, whether you like it or not, so why not like it?"

THE KEEPER OF SECRETS

TITLE: THE KEEPER OF SECRETS
AUTHOR: JUDITH CUTLER
Pages: 343
Date: 30/12/2007
Grade: 4.5
Library

It's 1810 and young parson Tobias Campion is about to start his ministry at the parish of Moreton Hall. He spends his first night there at his distant cousin's stately home, where he has to safe a beautiful young servant, Lizzie Woodman from a brutish attack.
Tobias soon befriends the local doctor, Edmund Hansard and settles into his work. But he can't help feeling disquiet about the goings on in his parish.
Then young Lizzie disappears, only to be found murdered and Tobias and his friend Edmund set out to find out exactly what happened to her and why. A quest that endangers not just themselves, but other locals as well.
Maybe not a great mystery, but a very well written book, full of historical detail yet very easy to read.
I wouldn't mind if this turned out to be the first book in a series.

THE CRUELLEST MONTH

TITLE: THE CRUELLEST MONTH
AUTHOR: LOUISE PENNY
Pages: 311
Date: 29/12/2007
Grade: 5
Details: nr. 3 C.I. Armand Gamache Mystery
Library

In the village of Three Pines a woman dies during a seance, apparently scared to death. But, as Gamache and his team investigate, it soon becomes clear that what appeared super natural is in fact, brutal murder.
The murdered woman appeared to be loved by all, but as secrets emerge it becomes clear that so much love can lead to resentment, and an abundance of suspects surfaces.
And while the investigation progresses, there are those among his colleagues who will stop at nothing to bring Gamache down, destroy him.
And with his enemies having infiltrated his team, and the leader being someone Gamache would never suspect, he has to be careful before both his career and his life are destroyed.
A mystery written in the time honoured tradition of Agatha Christie, but better plotted, more involved and with an apparent simplicity that makes it all the more brilliant.

GRAVE PERIL

TITLE: GRAVE PERIL
AUTHOR: JIM BUTCHER
Pages: 426
Date: 27/12/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 3 Dresden files
Library

The ghosts of Chicago have gone crazy. They're causing mayhem and disturbances everywhere. And not the sort of mayhem you'd expect from ghosts; these disturbances could have deadly consequences.
Harry and his friend Michael have their hands full trying to keep the tormented ghosts under control, and trying to work out what makes the ghosts behave the way they do.
And then trouble spreads, and humans are being attacked in the same way as the ghosts. And all the humans affected are somehow connected to Harry.
Harry has very little time to work out what's going on and who's causing it, before those close to him and even he himself become the next victims.
A thrill a minute read, as expected.

HIDDEN DEPTHS

TITLE: HIDDEN DEPTHS
AUTHOR: ANN CLEEVES
Pages: 384
Date: 26/12/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 3 Inspector Vera Stanhope Mystery
Library

Vera and her team are called to the scene when a young man is found death in a bath, surrounded by flowers, murdered.
The set-up intrigues the investigators, but when a young woman is found in a similar set up in a rock pool, their fascination turns into deep worry.
Their investigation soon centres on the group of bird watchers who found the girl, but doesn't appear to throw up any real clues.
Until, that is, the younger sister of the first victim disappears and a race against time starts to prevent a third murder.
Good mystery, although I didn't like Vera Stanhope very much. Why must main characters be either very beautiful or not beautiful at all?

THE GHOST ORCHID

TITLE: THE GHOST ORCHID
AUTHOR: CAROL GOODMAN
Pages: 453
Date: 24/12/2007
Grade: 5
Library

Ellis Brooks is staying at Bosco, a beautiful artist's retreat to write a novel about an event that took place there in it's early days. An event involving three dead children, their grieving mother, a medium, a seance with a tragic ending and a fourth child gone missing.
But once she's started her writing it appears that those events aren't as distant as they should be. The house and garden seem to be holding memories of the events and those seem to be affecting, not just Ellis, but all the residents.
As the past and present become ever more intertwined, it appears that Ellis is holding the keys to solving past mysteries and laying restless ghosts to bed. A task not without danger.
Great, thrilling read. Goodman is back to her best.

A WEDDING IN DECEMBER

TITLE: A WEDDING IN DECEMBER
AUTHOR: ANITA SHREVE
Pages: 325
Date: 21/12/2007
Grade: 4.5
Own

Twenty six years after being in high school together, a group of 40-somethings get together for the wedding of two of them.
They meet in the Inn owned by one of them, Nora, who has had to reinvent her life after her husband's death.
Bill, the groom had to leave his wife in order to marry his high school sweetheart, leading to friction with his daughter. Bridget, the bride is undergoing treatment for cancer.
All of the guests carry some sort of baggage with them, long held secrets are revealed and people and relationships are re-evaluated.
By the end of the weekend everybody seems to have lost some illusions, and gained some insight and/or love.
Not Shreve's best book, but still a very satisfying read.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

MESSENGER OF TRUTH

TITLE: MESSENGER OF TRUTH
AUTHOR: JACQUELINE WINSPEAR
Pages: 319
Date: 15/12/2007
Grade: 5
Details: nr. 4 Maisie Dobbs Mystery
Library

It's 1931 and Maisie is asked by Georgina Bassington Hope to investigate the death of her twin brother, Nick.
The police have ruled the death an accident, but Georgina is convinced he was murdered.
As Maisie investigates, she has to delve into London's art world, and the strange but wonderful environment of Georgina's family as well as smuggling.
Still struggling after her breakdown and away from Maurice, Maisie is fragile. And Billy and his family face a tragedy of their own.
Once again an insightful book, giving great insight into England between the wars.

"I've come to the conclusion that liking a person we are required to have dealings with is not of paramount importance. But respect is crucial, on both sides, as is tolerance, and a depth of understanding of those influences that sculpt a character."

CREATION IN DEATH

TITLE: CREATION IN DEATH
AUTHOR: JD ROBB
Pages: 337
Date: 10/12/2007
Grade: 5
Details: nr. 25 Eve Dallas & Roarke Mystery
Library

Eve is enjoying some well deserved time off with Roarke, when she's called in on a case. It soon becomes clear why her time off has been cut into; a murderer who she, Feeney and others failed to capture nine years ago, has returned. And he's repeating his old behaviour; abducting brunettes, torturing them and killing them when they can't take the torture anymore, carving their lasting power into their corpses.
This time Eve is in charge of the case and determined to close it. But this time, the murderer is making it personal.
As expected a thrilling, fun, sexy and emotional read. Bring on the next one.

A KILLING NIGHT

TITLE: A KILLING NIGHT
AUTHOR: JONATHON KING
Pages: 287
Date: 08/12/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 4 Max Freeman Mystery
Library

Max's ex-lover, Sherry Richards, asks him to check out a former colleague of his from Philadelphia, now also living in Florida, whom she suspects of stalking and killing women bartenders.
And, although Max is reluctant to return to his past, he does as she asks. He does find that Colin O'Shea is a volatile character, but doesn't believe him to be a killer.
And while Sherry tries to prove O'Shea's guilt and Max his innocence, the killer has found himself a new girl who may well end up death.
Again, the book would probably have been better (for me) if O'Shea's innocence or guilt had been a mystery for longer. But the writing is so good that it doesn't matter too much.

ICED

TITLE: ICED
AUTHOR: CAROL HIGGINS CLARK
Pages: 306
Date: 05/12/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 3 Regan Reilly Mystery
Library

Regan and her parents and friend have been invited to Aspen over Christmas.
Upon arrival, their hosts discover that their caretaker is missing as is a valuable painting.
Eben, the caretaker turns out to have a criminal past and the automatic assumption is that he must be the thief, but Regan isn't so sure.
With another friend of hers planning the official opening of his restaurant, also involving a valuable painting, Regan is up against it to prevent another theft and her friend's ruination.
Fun cozy mystery with nice characters, but I probably would enjoy them more if the culprits weren't out in the open from the start.

BAD BLOOD

TITLE: BAD BLOOD
AUTHOR: LINDA FAIRSTEIN
Pages: 397
Date: 02/12/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: nr. 9 Alexandra Cooper Mystery
Library

Alex Cooper is starting a court case where she's prosecuting a man for having his wife murdered while he was conveniently out of town. The chances of getting a conviction aren't great.
Then, a few days into the case, an explosion in one of New Yorks subterrainian water tunnels kills the brother of the accussed, revealing old fueds between families. And when an old, unsolved, case is also linked to the accused, the waters seem to be getting murkier rather then clearer.
As Alex, Mercer and Mike unrafel all the threads, the accussed makes a violent escape and with the solution to all the mysteries comes a terrifying underground manhunt.
Good mystery and read, as always, but not as thrilling as some in this series.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

THE THIN WOMAN

TITLE: THE THIN WOMAN
AUTHOR: DOROTHY CANNELL
Pages: 273
Date: 01/12/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 1 Ellie Haskell Mystery
Library

When Ellie Simons is invited to a family gathering she despairs. She's over-weight and single and knows that her family will be only too happy to point out all her short comings.
Enter Eligibility Escorts and Bentley T. Haskell, hired to be Ellie's fiance for the weekend.
Shortly after the weekend, Ellie's uncle dies, and it turns out that she and her make belief fiance are to inherit the bulk provided they can solve a mystery and uncover a treasure within 6 months as well as achieve some other goals.
But it appears that someone is determined to make sure they fail. And while their fake romance could turn real, there appear to be obstacles to that as well.
A mystery without a murder, but several attempts. A fun read with good characters. I will read more.

NORTHERN LIGHTS

TITLE: NORTHERN LIGHTS
AUTHOR: PHILLIP PULLMAN
Pages: 399
Date: 29/11/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 1 His Dark Materials
Own

Lyra has had a relatively trouble free childhood in Oxford, when her friend Roger disappears. He is one of many children being abducted for reasons nobody seems to know, but everybody speculates about.
Lyra herself turns out not to be who she thought she was and unbeknown to herself she has a very special destiny.
And she takes the first step towards that destiny when she sets out on a quest to find her friend.
Set in a world and universe quite similar to but not the same as ours, this is a great adventure story. What takes it beyond a simple adventure for children, is the criticism aimed at organized religion and the lack of completely black and white characters.

HEARTSTOPPER

TITLE: HEARTSTOPPER
AUTHOR: JOY FIELDING
Pages: 387
Date: 26/11/2007
Grade: 4.5
Library

Somebody is killing young women in Torrance, Florida, and as nobody knows who or why, panic is slipping in.
Sandy Crosbie has recently moved to Torrence with her husband and two teenage children. However, soon after arriving, her husband leaves her, and now she's facing not only her life falling apart, but also a killer targeting girls like her daughter.
In a town like Torrance, everybody knows everybodies business, but the identity of the killer remains a mystery.
In the book, journal entries by the killer alternate with descriptions of town life, which should make for a chilling read.
However, I had the killer pegged about half way through and didn't find the book as thrilling as it could have been

LEAVE THE GRAVE GREEN

TITLE: LEAVE THE GRAVE GREEN
AUTHOR: DEBORAH CROMBIE
Date: 23/11/2007
Pages: 304
Rating: 4.5
Remarks: nr. 3 Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James Mystery
Library

Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma Jones are asked to look into the suspicious death of Connor Swann, who was found floating in the Thames.
Swann was the son in law of Sir Gerald and Dame Caroline Asherton, being married to but living separately from their daughter Julia.
It soon turns out to be a family with a lot of issues, quirks and secrets, especially the death from drowning 20 years previously of Julia's brother Matthew; an event that's never talked about.
And while Kincaid finds himself attracted to Julia, and Gemma is struggling with her feelings for Kincaid, the case appears to be going nowhere, until a surprise revelation brings clarity.
Good mystery; I will continue with this series.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

UNDEAD AND UNRETURNABLE

TITLE: UNDEAD AND UNRETURNABLE
AUTHOR: MARYJANICE DAVIDSON
Pages: 222
Date: 20/11/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 4 Betsy Taylor, Undead book
Library

I suppose this book is best described as a fun bit of fluff; chick-lit featuring vampires, ghosts, the Devil and her daughter.
Betsy Taylor is the newly crowned queen of vampires, busy trying to plan her wedding to Eric Sinclair, king of vampires.
Meanwhile, her half sister, the up to now very well behaved daughter of the Devil, is starting to portray disturbing behaviour. And there are the ghosts who keep on seeking Betsy out so she can resolve the issues that keep them bound to Earth.
And the issue one of the ghosts dumps on Betsy just happens to be a serial killer still on the loose.
Nothing deep or complicated in the book, but for light entertainment it's the ideal read.

SHADOW MEN

TITLE: SHADOW MEN
AUTHOR: JONATHON KING
Pages: 258
Date: 18/11/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: nr. 3 Max Freeman Mystery
Library

Max Freeman, former police officer now P.I. gets the unusual request to investigate three 80 year old murders that were possibly committed and ended the lives of a father and his two sons while working on a road through the Florida Everglades.
From the very first, it is very clear that somebody doesn't want any digging into this history, but the opposition only makes Max more determined.
I really liked this book. The language used is beautiful and unemotional yet feelings and impressions are jumping off the page. There was a satisfying lack of obvious stereotypes. And although the story appeared to move along steadily the book was impossible to put down.

MEMORY OF WATER

TITLE: MEMORY OF WATER
AUTHOR: BRIAN EASTMAN
Pages: 298
Date: 18/11/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 3 Rosemary and Thyme Mystery
Library

Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme have accepted a commission to restore an Elizabethan garden. But shortly after arriving, Rosemary witnesses a man falling into the river. When a day later local man Jim Frazer is found death further down the river, it's assumed that Rosemary witnessed his suicide. But Jim was a local trouble maker, and Rosemary is convinced she's seem the man who fell into the river alive and well a day after he supposedly died.
And when somebody else dies, this time a murder without any doubt, the two sleuthing gardeners know they have to keep on digging until they find the answers, unaware of the kind of danger they're putting themselves in.
Fun and well plotted cozy mystery.

THE SHINING SKULL

TITLE: THE SHINING SKULL
AUTHOR: KATE ELLIS
Pages: 272
Date: 17/11/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 11 Wesley Peterson Mystery
Library

30 years after being kidnapped never to be seen again, Marcus Fallbrook reappears to Devon and the place he considers his real home, now inhabited by his half brother. And soon a DNA test proves his claim.
At the same time, a fake taxi driver is abducting blond women only to release them after cutting of their blond hair.
And then, Leah Wakefield, young pop star, is abducted with all the evidence indicating that the kidnapper must be connected to the Markus Fallbrook abduction.
Wesley Peterson and his colleagues have their hands full and have no idea what's going on for the longest time.
Meanwhile, Neil Watson is doing and archaeological dig in a local church yard where he stumbles across an old coffin with one corpse too many and two mysteries of his own. Mysteries that turn out to be connected to at least one of the present day mysteries.
As per usual a good and well plotted mystery with a lot of angles.
And although I did pick the kidnapper, I never guessed at the reasons why.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN

TITLE: LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN
AUTHOR: JANET EVANOVICH
Pages: 309
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 13 Stephanie Plum Mystery
Library

When Ranger asks Stephanie to plant a bug on her ex-husband Dickie Orr, she has bad feelings about it, but does it anyway.
Her bad feelings are proven right, when Dickie subsequently disappears from his house, leaving signs of a struggle and blood. And because Stephanie fought with Dickie, in front of several witnesses, while planting the bug, she's the prime suspect in his disappearance.
Dickie appears to have been involved in very dodgy business dealings, and soon people are after Stephanie, with Ranger and Morelli taking turns minding her.
And of course her regular job still needs to be done, with the usual results.
I didn't find this book very funny, but the mystery wasn't badly put together.

JULIA'S CHOCOLATES

TITLE: JULIA'S CHOCOLATES
AUTHOR: CATHY LAMB
Pages: 383
Date: 10/11/2007
Grade: 5++
Library

"Grab the love. Hold on tight. Treasure it. Put that love you have for your husband first, arrange everything else around it, and all else will work out. Love must be cradled, and nurtured, and enjoyed, and danced with. Never, ever forget the love. It's why we want to live."

A wonderful quote from an equally wonderful, life enhancing, book. I'm so glad I read this book. The story had me smiling a lot, and on several occassions I had tears in my eyes or running down my cheeks.
A story filled with fear and terror, stress and illness, but more then any of those filled with love and friendship, courage and determination and how they will carry you through.

On her wedding day, Julia runs away from her abusive and very dangerous fiance, Robert, leaving her wedding dress hanging in a tree in the middle of nowhere.
The place she flees to is her aunt Lydia's farm near Golden, Oregon, the only place she's ever felt loved and safe in her whole life.
There she meets Lara, Katie, and Caroline, all three with their own issues to overcome.
The five women create strong bonds of friendship between them. Bonds that they'll need as each of them struggles with life changing problems and decisions.
In Golden, Julia learns to love and trust, and life would be perfect if it wasn't for the constant threat from Robert and the fear she's constantly living with.

THE GHOST AND THE DEATH MAN'S LIBRARY

TITLE: THE GHOST AND THE DEATH MAN'S LIBRARY
AUTHOR: ALICE KIMBERLY
Pages: 390
Date: 06/11/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 3 Haunted Bookshop Mystery
Library

Penelope Thorton McClure and her aunt Sadie travel to the mansion of an old friend of Sadie's to receive a very rare collection of Edgar Allen Poe's complete works. After leaving they have to return almost immediately, and find the old man dead. And although Pen is sure this is a case of murder, the police rule it an accidental death.
Very lucrative offers almost immediately start coming in for the books, but when the first person to buy one dies unexpectedly, Penelope is even more convinced something sinister is going on.
Soon others connected to the books are attacked, even Pen herself, or involved in accidents.
Pen and her ghost, P.I. Jack Shepard, have their hands full trying to catch the murderer before more people die or he succeeds in framing Pen for it all.
These are fun books.
Jack is an obvious stereotype, but makes me laugh.
In this book, I had the murderer figured out from the moment he was introduced, but it didn't reduce my enjoyment.
And of course, I read this one out of order, so now I've got to go and get my hands on part 2.
"for a man who's well remembered
in mind, in thought, in tale,
for him, life is eternal,
and death shall finally fail."

Sunday, November 4, 2007

PARDONABLE LIES

TITLE: PARDONABLE LIES
AUTHOR: JACQUELINE WINSPEAR
Pages: 326
Date: 04/11/2007
Grade: 5+
Details: nr. 3 Maisie Dobbs Mystery
Library

"Truly, to tell lies is not honourable;
but when the truth entails tremendous ruin,
to speak dishonourably is pardonable."
Sophocles

Boy, do I love these books.
In this one, Maisie is asked by a prominent barrister to prove that his son did die during the war.
And an old friend of Maisie's asks her to discover how and where one of her brothers died.
These cases are deeply unsettling for Maisie since they force her to face her own disturbing memories of the war, as well as travel back to France, where her happiness was shattered.
To complicate matters further, someone seems determined to kill her, and the investigations, which do come together, threaten to destroy her relationship with her mentor and friend, Maurice Blanche.
These are highly intelligent, moving and well researched mysteries, and I hope Mrs. Winspear will continue to write them for a long time.
Two quotes:

"My child, when a mountain appears on the journey, we try to go to the left, then to the right; we try to find the easy way to navigate our way to the easier path. But the mountain is there to be crossed. It is on that pilgrimage, as we climb higher, that we are forced to shed the layers upon layers we have carried for so long. Then we find that our load is lighter and we have come to know something of ourselves in the perilous climb.
Do not seek to avoid the mountain, my child, for it has been placed there at a perfect time. It will only become larger if you seek to delay or draw back from the ascent."

"Coincidence is a messenger sent by Truth."

NOTHING BAD EVER HAPPENS IN TIFFANY'S

TITLE: NOTHING BAD EVER HAPPENS IN TIFFANY'S
AUTHOR: MARIAN KEYES
Pages: 56
Date: 03/11/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: Non fiction
Own

This was not a novel, but a selection of reflections on the travelling Marian Keyes has done.
At times, recognizable, funny and insightful, this collection was fun to read and I wouldn't have minded if it had been longer.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

THE WOODS

TITLE: THE WOODS
AUTHOR: HARLAN COBEN
Pages: 404
Date: 02/11/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: Stand-alone
Library

Twenty years ago, four teenagers walked from their summer camp dorms into the woods. The next day two of them were found murdered, while the other two were never found or seen again.
Paul Copeland has always felt terrible about that night. He was supposed to be watching the kids that night, but instead went off with Lucy, until terrible screams interrupted their night of passion. And one of the missing kids, was Paul's sister.
Now, twenty years later, Paul is a County Prosecutor involved in a case that could end his career, and a widower.
Then a murdered man is found, and Paul is convinced it's one of the two teenagers that went missing that night. And if this man was, up until recently, alive, then the same might be true for Paul's sister.
Meanwhile, Lucy is living a solitary life, trying to drown the past in Vodka, when that past trespasses into the present in a most unexpected way.
Thrown back together, Paul and Lucy set out to discover exactly what did happen that night, while at the same time discovering that their feelings for each other are still very close to the surface.
A very thrilling read. I read some people complaining about the ending of this book, but I didn't have any problems with it.

THE MEANING OF NIGHT

TITLE: THE MEANING OF NIGHT
AUTHOR: MICHAEL COX
Pages: 595
Date: 01/11/2007
Grade: 4.5
Library

This was a dark novel, set in Victorian times. A story about love, and how it makes people loose sight of their good sense; a story of revenge and how it takes over a person's life; and a story about obsession and how it destroys more than just the live of the obsessed one.
The story starts with Edward Glapthorn, formerly known as Edward Glyver killing a man he doesn't know and has never met before. The sole purpose of the murder being to find out if he's capable of killing a man.
The rest of the book is an explanation, by Edward Glyver, of how he came to commit this crime, and what happened afterwards.
It's the story of a baby being denied it's destiny and the impossible quest to reclaim what is rightfully his.
It's also the story of his opponent, willing to do anything to keep the rightful claimant from getting what is his, so that he may claim it himself.
A dark, but fascinating story, that could have done without the footnotes in my opinion.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

BONES TO ASHES

TITLE: BONES TO ASHES
AUTHOR: KATHY REICHS
Pages: 310
Date: 27/10/2007
Grade: 5
Details: nr. 10 Tempe Brennan Mystery
Library

In this instalment of the series, Tempe is thrown into an emotional journey back into her past.
When she investigates bones that have been about earth for quite a while, she discovers that they belong to a teenage girl. And taking into consideration where they originated, she can't help thinking that they might belong to a childhood friend of hers, who suddenly and mysteriously disappeared when still a teenager.
At the same time she gets involved in an investigation run by Ryan and "Hippo" into missing girls and unidentified dead girls.
When the two cases appear to come together, Brennan gets very close to becoming obsessed, and is in for a few shocks and surprises.
And meanwhile, her relationship with Ryan appears to have come to an end, because of outside factors, or has it?
This remains one of my favourite series. Good, solid mysteries and extremely well written.
It's a shame I'll have to wait for the next one to be published before I can read on.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

THE ROAD

TITLE: THE ROAD
AUTHOR: CORMAC MCCARTHY
Pages: 307
Date: 21/10/2007
Grade: 5
Library

This should have been a really depressing book, and on more than one occasion I thought about not finishing it. But in the end not finishing the book would have been harder than reading on was.
It is the story of a man and his young son, taking place at a time when the world has been all but destroyed through some, unidentified, disaster. In a world where both the sun and the moon are obscured by ash, they need to travel south in order to survive the winter.
But the road is not a safe place. Most of the people still alive have left all human values behind them in order to survive. Food and clean water are next to impossible to find, but for the man and his son cannibalism is not an option, even if it is just that for others.
With the man coughing up blood from the start of the story, a happy ending is never likely. The question is more, how bad will the ending be?
What saddened me both was that the boy was boron after the disaster happened and never knew the world his father could at least remember.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

THE STARGAZEY

TITLE: THE STARGAZEY
AUTHOR: MARTHA GRIMES
Pages: 419
Date: 20/10/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 15 Richard Jury Mystery
Library

One night, while riding on a bus, Richard Jury observes a woman in a long fur coat. She gets on the bus, gets off the bus, walks for a while only to get back on the bus again. When she gets off the bus for the second time, Jury is so intrigued that he follows her. But when she enters a park, his doubts about his behaviour get too strong, and he gets back on his own way.
When he hears the next day that a woman in a fur coat has been found murdered in the park, he can't help wondering if things would have been different if he had continued to follow her.
Then, when he sees her in the morgue, he realises that although she looks very similar, the dead woman isn't the one he followed.
And thus starts a tangled web involving art and Russia.
With Melrose Plant following the art angle and Richard concentrating on find the woman he did follow and getting the truth out of her, solutions seem to be eluding both of them.
And when things do become clear, Jury has to concede defeat and Melrose has to be rescued by a very unlikely saviour.
These books always confuse me a bit, because for the longest time nothing much appears to be happening, to the point where it frustrates me a bit, and then things start to click together, and all is well in the world again.

JULIE & ROMEO

TITLE: JULIE AND ROMEO
AUTHOR: JEANNE RAY
Pages: 241
Date: 16/10/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: Buddy read for ARM
Own

The Roseman and Cacciamanis families have been engaged in a feud for years.
In fact, neither Julie (Roseman) nor Romeo Cacciamanis can remember a time when the mention of the other family's name wouldn't set a parent off.
Both Julie and Romeo have kept the tradition alive, but when they meet, when they're both 60, they find they really like each other. In fact, they fall deeply in love. But they soon find that both their families are disgusted with the idea of their family and the dreaded others getting together.
At times funny, at times insightful, this was a wonderful sweet story. A lot like a fairytale actually.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

SEASON MACHETE

TITLE: SEASON MACHETE
AUTHOR: JAMES PATTERSON
Pages: 341
Date: 14/10/2007
Grade: 4
Details: Stand-alone
Library

Damian and Carrie Rose are assassins for hire currently recruited to create havoc on San Dominica.
Peter MacDonald is an ex-military American drop out, working in a resort on San Dominica.
One afternoon while cycling he sees Damian Rose while the first of the Machete murders is going down. Peter is now the only man alive able to identify Damian.
And while Damian and Carrie continue to create murder and mayhem, Peter is trying to get someone to take his sighting seriously.
When Peter's girlfriend is killed, authorities do take him seriously, but by then it's a case of kill or be killed. And exactly who is double crossing who?
Not Patterson at his best, but definitely not at his worst either. The story is original enough to make it interesting. And as (almost) always, Patterson is easy to read.

FOOL MOON

TITLE: FOOL MOON
AUTHOR: JIM BUTCHER
Pages: 391
Date: 13/10/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 2 of the Dresden Files
Library

For months business for Harry Dresden is non-existent. But when he's at last called in by the police in the form of Karrin Murphy, it is to take a look at a horribly mutilated body, covered in and surrounded by strange paw and teeth marks. And it happens to be a night with a full moon.
A month earlier, on and around the fool moon nights similar corpses were found and Harry is needed to find who or whatever is doing the killing.
and although the answer appears obvious, the reality is far more sinister and dangerous than either Murphy or Dresden could have guessed. A plot so devious that it almost spells the end of the always fragile partnership between Harry and Murphy, never mind their lives.

THE SPELLMAN FILES

TITLE: THE SPELLMAN FILES
AUTHOR: LISA LUTZ
Pages: 355
Date: 11/10/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 1 Spellman mystery
Library

Four out of the five members of the Spellman family are involved in Spellman investigations; the parents, Izzie (aged 28) and her 14 year old sister Rae.
The Spellmans don't only follow and investigate third parties, but also each other. But when Izzie's parents hire Rae to discover the identity of Izzie's latest boyfriend, that is one too many infringement of her privacy. Now Izzie wants out of the family business and the family home. Before they let her leave though, her parents give Izzie one last case to solve. A case that has been open for 15 years and is supposed to be unsolvable.
But just when Izzie appears to be getting somewhere with her case, her sister disappears and suddenly nothing else matters.
A funny book with a very original view on family life. In fact although I had to laugh at the family's antics, they also left me feeling slightly uncomfortable.
The unsolvable case was a bit too transparent for it's reputation, but I'm intrigued enough by the Spellmans to look forward to the second instalment.

Monday, October 8, 2007

ANGELS FALL

TITLE: ANGELS FALL
AUTHOR: NORA ROBERTS
Pages: 717 (Large Print)
Date: 08/10/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: Stand-Alone
Library

Vintage Nora Roberts novel; thrilling, sexy and a real page turner.
When Reese Gilmore arrives in Angel's Fist with car trouble, it has been two years since she was the only survivor of a brutal crime. And although she is alive, she doesn't have a life. She's living with nightmares and panic attacks, and constantly on the move, running from her fear and running from herself.
She finds a job and a place to stay in Angel's Fist and dares to hope she's healing, until she witnesses a man killing a woman. Only when the authorities investigate, there is no trace of the woman or the crime, and given her background, people are inclined to think she imagined the whole episode.
The only one who believes her is Brody, a writer and an outsider like her.
When mysterious things start happening to her and her possessions, Reece fears she's sliding back, until Brody convinces her that somebody is trying to make her think that to scare her out of Angel's Fist.
Together Reece and Brody keep digging for the truth as they get closer to each other. But when at last they figure out what has been going on, it may well be too late.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON

TITLE: THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON
AUTHOR: KATE MORTON
Pages: 593
Date: 06/10/2007
Grade: 5
Own

This is a Gothic novel; it's a love story, a tragedy and a mystery. All of these ingredients making it a fascinating and compelling read.
In 1999, Grace is as old as the century, when she's asked to assist in the making of a film about events that took place on a midsummer night party in 1924. As history tells the story, on that night, a young poet took his own life, as a result of which two sisters, Hannah and Emmeline never talked to each other again.
Although Grace says and does nothing to change the story as it has been written for the movie, the event does awaken memories she has been trying to lose every since 1924.
Going back in time, Grace tells the story of how as a 14 year old she came to work as a servant at Riverton where she soon became curious about the three children. When she gets as close as a servant can to the eldest girl, Hannah, she also becomes an accomplice to events that will eventually lead to a tragedy. A tragedy which was of Grace's making as much as it was of others'.
If you didn't read the blurb on the back of the book, or the thoughts of present day Grace, but instead focused only on the story of the younger Grace, it would take you quite a while to get a sense of the impending doom. While at the same time, tragedy appears unavoidable from the start, from before the three (four?) main characters in the story make an entrance even.
And that is what made this such a wonderful book, pulling along until tragedy struck, while all the time hoping that it might yet be avoided.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

TITLE: BIRDS OF A FEATHER
AUTHOR: JACQUELINE WINSPEAR
Pages: 306
Date: 30/09/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: nr. 2 Maisie Dobbs Mystery
Library

This was the 15th book I read during the Cozy Mystery Challenge, and the last one, since the challenge is now over.

Maisie Dobbs is hired by a former acquaintance of her mentor, Maurice, to find his daughter, who has ran away from her father's house.
As Maisie and her assistant, Billy, investigate the not so young woman's disappearance, they discover that her friends are dying, and while one death was ruled a suicide, the other two were definitely murder. It would appear that the missing Charlotte is in grave danger, but from whom, and why?
At the same time, Billy has some problems of his own, and Maisie has to take a close look at her own life; her past, her relationships in the present, and most importantly, her future.
I like these beautifully written books. The mysteries are solid, the past is very well researched and Maisie is a very likable character. I will try to get my hands on part three soon.

With the end of September, comes the end of the Cozy Mystery Challenge. And although I did enjoy reading the books I did, I'll be get to get a bit more variation in my reading again. I guess I'm just not a one genre kind of girl.

Friday, September 28, 2007

DEATH IN A HOT FLASH

TITLE: DEATH IN A HOT FLASH
AUTHOR: JANE ISENBERG
Pages: 215
Date: 28/09/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 2 Bel Barrett Mystery
Own

This was the 14th book I read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
A colleague of professor Bel Barrett at a Jersey City Community College is murdered, and the police's main suspect is one of their students with a criminal past, who recently had and argument with Vinnie, the victim.
Bel is not at all convinced the police is looking at the right suspect and finds herself investigating, with some help from her friends.
At the same time she's worrying about her son, who is in Israel, her daughter, injured in an accident, and her recently widowed mother who appears to be losing her hold on reality. And to top it all off, her relationship with Sol appears to be at an end.
Good mystery and a nice story. I especially like the friendship between Bel, Illuminado and Betty as they again join forces to investigate.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

THE BURRY MAN'S DAY

TITLE: THE BURY MAN'S DAY
AUTHOR: CATRIONA MCPHERSON
Pages: 361
Date: 25/09/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 2 Dandy Gilver Mystery
Library

This was the 13th read in this month's Cozy Mystery Challenge.
Dandy Gilver is spending time with friends in Queensferry, Scotland. It is August 1923, and the annual Ferry Fair is on, which traditionally involves the walk of the Burry Man.
But the day before the Fair, the man who has been the Burry Man for years, announces that the can't do it this year, only to change his mind after a talk with Dandy.
On the day, the Burry Man does his traditional round, only to die shortly afterwards. it's up to Dandy to discover whether his death was an accident or murder.
This was a good mystery with a for more involved solution than I could guess at.
Dandy is an interesting main character, and I will go back to read the first book in this series, and then read onwards.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

IF I'D KILLED HIM WHEN I MET HIM...

TITLE: IF I'D KILLED HIM WHEN I MET HIM...
AUTHOR: SHARYN MCCRUMB
Pages: 273
Date: 23/09/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 8 Elizabeth McPherson Mystery
Own

12th read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
Elizabeth McPherson is battling depression after losing her beloved Cameron. To give her life some direction, her lawyer brother Bill and his business partner A.P Hill ask her to be the investigator for their law firm.
And while Elizabeth can't do a lot for A.P's case of a woman who shot her ex husband and younger new wife and seems proud of it, she does succeed in solving two cases of arsenic poisoning, one in the present and one in the past.
This was a very well written book, funny and with a good mystery and a clever solution.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

PERISH BY PEDICURE

TITLE: PERISH BY PEDICURE
AUTHOR: NANCY J. COHEN
Pages: 243
Date: 22/09/2007
Grade: 4-
Details: nr. 8 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries
Library

This was the 11th book I read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
I don't think I'll be returning to this series. If I remember correctly, I wasn't overly impressed with the first instalment in this series, which I read some years ago, and this one didn't really work for me either.
The thing is, I'm not sure why I don't like these books.
There is nothing much wrong with the mystery or the characters, but I can't seem to get into the story. So I don't mind putting these books down and find myself in no particular hurry to get back to them. And since there are so many series out there I do enjoy, I'm just going to be giving this one a miss.
As for the story; Marla Shore is invited to help out at a beauty show, when on the welcome cocktail party the company's director, Christine Parks, is murdered. Christine was not liked by anyone who worked for her, so there's no shortage of suspects, including Marla's friend Christine.
Determined to clear her friend's name as well as increase her chances of working with the company in the future, Marla sets out on an investigation.
But her attention is divided because she has her fiance's ex-in laws staying in her house, apparently determined to find fault with her. And of course the murderer is determined to make sure that she won't get to the truth.
All the ingredients for a good and exciting read are here, but for some reason it just didn't work for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MURDER ON A GIRL'S NIGHT OUT

TITLE: MURDER ON A GIRL'S NIGHT OUT
AUTHOR: ANNE GEORGE
Pages: 244
Date: 19/09/2007
Grade 4+
Details: nr. 1 Southern Sisters Mysteries
Own

Patricia Anne (Mouse) and Mary Alice (Sister) are sisters and each others complete opposite.
When Marie Alice buys a country and western bar, Patricia Anne has her reservations. When a few days later the former owner of the bar is found brutally murdered in the bar, Patricia Anne knows she was right to doubt the project.
Curious people that they are, Mouse and Sister do some investigating, but keep on coming up with more mysteries rather than answers.
And by the time the answers become clear, Patricia Anne is very close to becoming the murderer's next victim.
Fun story with a few laugh out loud moments and a good mystery.
Definitely a cozy, and the 10th in this months challenge.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A CUT ABOVE THE REST

TITLE: A CUT ABOVE THE REST
AUTHOR: MARINA OLIVER
Pages: 216
Date: 17/09/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: Stand-alone
Library

This the 9th read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
Dodie Fanshaw is staying with her daughter Elena in Markenlea, England, when they spot a soaking wet girl emerging from the river behind Elena's garden. Because the girl leaves with giving her name, they call her the Mermaid.
Later on the same day they visit Elena's neighbour, Rick Wilbraham, a famous author, only to find him murdered.
There is no shortage of suspects for this murder, and when it appears that the first draft of Rick's second novel has disappeared, the plot only thickens.
Dodie can't help herself and decides to investigate, emerging herself in the literary world in the process. She eventually comes to the right conclusions, but not before someone else has died.
A clever and fun read. I loved Dodie and Elena and can't help hoping that Oliver will write more mysteries featuring these two.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

MAISIE DOBBS

TITLE: MAISIE DOBBS
AUTHOR: JACQUELINE WINSPEAR
Pages: 292
Date: 16/09/2007
Grade: 5
Details: nr. 1 Maisie Dobbs Mystery
Own


Quotes:
" Truth walks towards us on the paths of our questions. As soon as you think you have the answer, you have closed the path and may miss vital new information. Wait awhile in the stillness, and do not rush to conclusions, no matter how uncomfortable the unknowing."


"Coincidence was a messenger sent by truth."


"Pay attention to the reactions of your body. It is the wisdom of the self speaking to you. Be aware of concern, of anticipation, off all the feelings that come from the self. They manifest in the body. What is their council?"


"The truth grows even more powerful when it is suppressed, and often it takes only one small crack to bring down the wall, to release it."


This was the 7th read in the cozy mystery challenge.

Absolutely wonderful first book in this series. Reminding me a bit of the books by Laurie King featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes.
When the book starts Maisie Dobbs has just opened her office as a psychologist and investigator.
Her first case appears to be one of looking into the apparent infidelity of a wife. But it soon emerges there's no infidelity to investigate, but a much deeper mystery relating to WW 1 and the injuries it caused.
The investigation causes Maisie to look back on her own past, the opportunities she was given and her own experiences as a nurse during the war. Forcing her to deal with and come to terms with the pain it caused.
Set in 1929, this is a thought provoking book. The investigation is more about finding answers and proof than about who done it. The language used is gentle and beautiful, as is the main character. I can't wait to read part two.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

THE CORNBREAD KILLER

TITLE: THE CORNBREAD KILLER
AUTHOR: LOU JANE TEMPLE
Pages: 242
Date: 15/09/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 5 Heaven Lee Culinary Mystery
Library

This was the 7th read in the Cozy Mystery Challenge.
Heaven Lee is a chef and restaurant owner in Kansas City with a tendency to run into murder mysteries. And the dedication of Kansas City Jazz and "black" district, Eighteen and Vine, is no different.
The festival planner is an out-of-towner who somehow managed to get the job. A week before the festival is to take place she's found out ripping of the contributors to the festival. But just before the organizing committee can confront her, she dies from electrocution. Accident or murder?
Heaven, in charge of organizing the food end of the festival is never one to let a mystery lie, but has her own troubles as well when an out of town chef sets out to sabotage the catering.
Then Charlie Parker's saxophone is stolen from the soon to opened museum, and Heaven and her adversary are both attacked. And a former lover of Heaven is back in town and could be involved in one or more of the mysteries.
It all leads to a rather eventful finale, where most of the questions are answered to the character's satisfaction. But in this case, the reader knows more than the participants.
A fun and fast read, but I'm not sure I liked it enough to go back and read the whole series.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

RUEFUL DEATH

TITLE: RUEFUL DEATH
AUTHOR: SUSAN WITTIG ALBERT
Pages: 275
Date: 13/09/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 4 China Bayles Mystery
Own

China Bayles needs a break from her life to sort out her priorities and goes to a convent with her friend Maggie, a former nun.
But it turns out to be anything but a quiet retreat, as on arrival she's asked to investigate disturbing instances of poison pen letters and small, non accidental fires.
To complicate matters, the nuns are divided into two groups with very different hopes and aspirations for the monastery.
And then there is Tom Rowan, with whom she had a relationship in the past. And it appears some of the old feelings still linger.
China makes a few big mistakes on her way to eventually coming to the right conclusion. But justice does appear to come in all sorts of ways.
A very pleasant read although not one that captured me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

AND NO BIRDS SING

TITLE: AND NO BIRDS SING
AUTHOR: BRIAN EASTMAN
Pages: 277
Date: 10/09/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 1 Rosemary & Thyme Mystery
Library

This was the 5th read in the cozy mystery challenge
When Laura Thyme's husband announces that he's leaving her for a younger woman, she travels straight to the house of her friends, Sam and Vicky Trent, only to be told that she can't stay there and be brought to a hotel.
Also in the hotel is Rosemary Boxer, in the area to look into sick trees belonging to a former student of hers, Daniel Kellaway.
Then Sam, who is Daniel's business partner, dies in a suspicious car accident, and Daniel turns out to have a mysterious, possibly life-threatening skin disorder.
The two women soon develop a friendship and are both suspicious of the misfortune befalling the two business partners.
This was a real cozy, with two interesting and likable main characters.
The mystery was well plotted, and although I sort of guessed the answers, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It's good to know there are two more books in this series.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

THE BODY ON THE BEACH

TITLE: THE BODY ON THE BEACH
AUTHOR: SIMON BRETT
Pages: 327
Date: 09/09/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 1 Fethering Mystery
Own

Carol Seddon lives her life according to self-imposed rules and regulations which tie in completely with those of the other inhabitants of Fethering.
When a newcomer moves in next to Carol, it's clear from the start that she is nothing like the reserved regulars in the town. For starters, she only identifies herself as Jude. Carol quickly decides to keep her distance from this dubious woman.
But then Carol finds a dead body on the beach, only for it to disappear again. When the police dismiss her report as a fantasy, Jude is the only one who does believe her. And the two women decide to solve the mystery of the missing body together.
Their investigation bring them into contact with a lot of different characters in Fethering, a place where "keeping up appearances" hides a lot of pain and secrets.
This was a fun read, made better by the two main characters being so different and the mystery was clever and well plotted.
I'm looking forward to more from Fethering.

Friday, September 7, 2007

THE BOOKMAN'S WAKE

TITLE: THE BOOKMAN'S WAKE
AUTHOR: JOHN DUNNING
Pages: 432
Date: 07/09/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 2 Cliff Janeway Mystery
Library

This is the third book in the cozy mystery challenge, although I really don't think this series qualifies for that category. Never mind, I'm enjoying the books.

An ex-colleague he never liked, asks Janeway to travel to Seattle to take custody of a young woman wanted for assault and burglary. He is not inclined to leave his bookstore, especially not for this particular man, but when he's told there's a book involved, his interest is piqued, and when the book in question turns out to be a print of Poe's Raven so rare that most experts don't believe it exists, Janeway know he has to go.
He has no problem finding the young woman, who is called Eleanor Rigby, but finds it hard to believe she could be guilty of the violence she has been accused of.
And when the girl disappears again, Janeway has to solve the mystery of the book and the man who created it, to prevent further deaths.
Good read, provided you're interested in books. Just as well that I am.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

SNAGGED

TITLE: SNAGGED
AUTHOR: CAROL HIGGINS CLARK
Pages: 306
Date: 04/09/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 2 Regan Reilly Mystery
Library

This is the second book I've read in the cozy mystery challenge.

Regan Reilly is in Miami to be a bridesmaid in her friend's wedding.
There is also a panty hose convention going on in Miami, and the bride's uncle Richie, is hoping to sell his indestructable panty hose there. And the money is much needed to safe the retirement home where he's living with others, from being sold and closed.
But it appears that not everybody is happy about Richie's plans as two attempts are made on his life and it takes a lot for Regan to keep Richie alive to complete the deal and enjoy it's benefits.

An easy and entertaining read. Not at all taxing on the reader, but it works well as a mystery.

Monday, September 3, 2007

BOOKED TO DIE

TITLE: BOOKED TO DIE
AUTHOR: JOHN DUNNING
Pages: 394
Date: 03/09/2007
Grade: 4
Details: nr. 1 Cliff Janeway Mystery
Own.

This is the first book I've read in the cozy mystery challenge.

Cliff Janeway is a Denver Homicide Detective with a passion for books and a collection of rare and first editions.
When a local book scout is found murdered, Janeway immediately has a suspect in mind, one who has been alluding him for two years. As Janeway once again can't bring a case against his Nemesis, he flips and extracts his own form of justice, which costs him his batch.
Now, without a job, Janeway opens his own used bookstore, but soon finds himself faced not only with the deaths of two more book people, but also the emergence of an unlikely amount of rare and valuable books.
Unable to leave the mystery alone, he soon finds the book world is not as peaceful as one might expect.
This was a good mystery with characters that are not one dimensional. And it's great to be reading about somebody with a deep love for books. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.

A MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN

TITLE: A MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN
AUTHOR: L.M. JACKSON
Pages: 351
Date: 01/09/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 1 Sarah Tanner, Victorian Mystery
Library

In 1850's London, the mysterious Sarah Tanner opens a Dining and Coffee House in one of the lesser neighbourhoods. Her past is a mystery and her present sends out conflicting details.
Happy in her present circumstances, Sarah is determined to leave her questionable past behind her. Until, that is, she witnesses the murder of a man she knew in that past.
Unable to report what she saw to the police, she decides to investigate herself, and soon finds herself having to return to places and people she had been trying to get away from, as well as mixing with the upper classes.
Putting her own life in danger on more than one occasion, she has to untangle a complicated web of deceit with several layers and unlikely villains.
Well written with life-like descriptions of Victorian London and a feisty and independent heroine, I'm looking forward to more.

Friday, August 31, 2007

THE SLEEPING DOLL

TITLE: THE SLEEPING DOLL
AUTHOR: JEFFREY DEAVER
Pages: 415
Date: 31/08/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr 1 Kathryn Dance Mystery
Own

Kathryn Dance is a special agent with the California Bureau of Investigation and a specialist in kinesics (the science of interpreting behaviour), which makes her a brilliant interrogator.
Shortly after being interviewed by Dance, Daniel Pell escapes from prison, leaving a trail of death and destruction behind him.
Pell is a master manipulator, who mesmerises people and then uses them for his own ends.
Eight years ago he headed a small group of people, he called the Family, until the brutal murder of four members of a family lead to his arrest and his group fell apart.
Now, Kathryn, to get a better understanding of Pell, has to bring the three women who where in his group back together, as well as interview the girl who survived the slaughter of her family.
But nothing and nobody is quite what they seem, and Pell doesn't take kindly to people like Kathryn, who can resist his twisted charm.

Good story, though a bit slow for me at times.
Deaver always manages to hook me, but I've still read nothing by him that gripped my quite like the Lincoln Rhyme books.

Monday, August 27, 2007

SCARED TO LIVE

TITLE: SCARED TO LIVE
AUTHOR: STEPHEN BOOTH
Pages: 630
Date: 26/08/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: nr. 6 Diane Fry and Ben Cooper Mystery
Library

The murder of Rose Sheperd is an unusual one for the Derbyshire police force. This seemingly harmless middle-aged woman is assassinated with three bullets through her open bedroom window.
But when Ben Cooper and his colleagues start to investigate, it turns out that the victim's background is as big a mystery as the question who might have murdered her and why.
Meanwhile, Diane Fry is investigating a house fire in which a woman and her two young sons died.
For a long time, neither investigation appears to be going anywhere, until a sudden discovery links the two crimes, and an international angle is discovered.
Once again a well plotted, well, written and detailed mystery, with a bit of a twist in the tail.
So far, Booth hasn't disappointed me once.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

CHRISTINE FALLS

TITLE: CHRISTINE FALLS
AUTHOR: BENJAMIN BLACK/ JOHN BANVILLE
Pages: 390
Date: 21/08/2008
Grade: 4-
Own

Quirke is a pathologist in Dublin, who likes that he's working in the cellars, almost in a perpetual night, with very limited contact with the living.
One night, while attending a party elsewhere in the hospital, he walks into the pathology department to find a corpse of a young woman, that shouldn't be there and his brother in law, Malachy Griffin, doctoring a file.
Although he's normally not interested in other people's business, this woman and her death won't be ignored and he starts an investigation into the death of the woman named Christine Falls.
An investigation he refuses to give up, even when the woman who seems to have at least some of the answers is murdered and he is first warned off and then assaulted himself.
Even the realization that any answers he might find could involve his own past and those close to him doesn't reduce his determination.
Set in 1950's Dublin and Boston, this story paints a disturbing picture of the Church and those with power making and maintaining their own rules.
The idea for the story was very good, but the writing too bland, distant and analyzing to truly grab me.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING KENNEDY

TITLE: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING KENNEDY
AUTHOR: LAURIE GRAHAM
Pages: 326
Date: 16/08/2007
Grade: 4.5
Library

The story of the Kennedy family, told by their (fictional) nurse maid, Nora Brennan.
Nora is taken on by Joseph Kennedy and his wife in 1917, five years after she's arrived in America from Ireland. She's there when every one of the nine children is born and witnesses Joseph's rise and the families strategies aimed at raising Joe junior to become the first Catholic President of the USA.
She bears witness as the families' whole existance is geared towards reaching this goal, and any individual desires the children may have are sacrificed on teh alter of the higher purpose.
Twenty two years later the outbreak of World War II finds Nora and the Kennedy's in London. When the family returns to the US, Nora stays behind to get married but stays involved with the older Kennedy Children and watches how Kick disregards all the families' scheming by marrying a British Protestant, and when Joe junior gets himself killed in the war, it's up to second son, Jack to fulfill the families' ambitions.
Fascinating book, especially because I assume a lot of the family life as described is based on fact, which makes me feel very sad for those children, although none were depicted as unhappy in the book.
Nora, as a narrator was very observant and gives great insights into family life as it may well have been for them.
An easy and comfortable but very fascinating read.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

THE BLUE NOWHERE

TITLE: THE BLUE NOWHERE
AUTHOR: JEFFREY DEAVER
Pages: 430
Date: 14/08/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: Stand-alone
Own

Image someone having access to everything you do on your computer, without your knowledge, or you knowing the intruder. Imagine that person using that access to find you and kill you.
That's what the police in Silicon Valley is up against; a superior computer hacker, a "wizard". And the only person who might be able to "out-hack" this criminal is Wyatt Gillette, presently in prison for hacking.
The police and Gillette find themselves one step behind "Phate", the hacker, all the way. They can't even be sure about their own team.
Good mystery, great thriller with lots of typical Deaver turns, and a very scary premiss. At the back of the book Deaver says that at the time of writing the book (2001) experts said that a hacking program as described in the story wasn't possible. And I hope that will stay that way, but I have my doubts.
This book was not quite as good as the Rhymes books, but a very thrilling and fast read none the less.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

DEAD AS A DOORNAIL

TITLE: DEAD AS A DOORNAIL
AUTHOR: CHARLAINE HARRIS
Pages: 295
Date: 12/08/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: nr. 5 Sookie Stackhouse Paranormal Mystery
Library

I broke my (self-imposed) rules with this book. I usually read my series in order, starting with number one. But in this case, I didn't realize this book was part of a series until I had it home from the library for a few weeks. And since the contents summary was very enticing, I decided to ignore the rules and take a mid-series sample for a change.
And it paid off. I will definitely go back to number one and read this series in order, from scratch.

Sookie Stackhouse is a telepathic and working as a waitress. Her brother, Jason, has recently been infected by a Werepanther and is about to change for the first time, a scary experience for anyone.
But things get worse when somebody starts shooting changelings and Jason is the chief suspect as far as the local changeling population is concerned. Sookie has until the next full moon to prove his innocence, or he won't survive his next change.
But there's more to worry about. Sookie's friend Tara has hooked up with a very dangerous vampire, someone sets fire to Sookie's house, trying to kill her, the local Werewolf population need her assistance in a leadership contest, and Sookie's love-life is getting more complicated by the day.
This book has a lot in common with the Anita Blake series, but as a character I find Sookie fare nicer and more interesting than Anita.

THE MARRIAGE HEARSE

TITLE: THE MARRIAGE HEARSE
AUTHOR: KATE ELLIS
Pages: 297
Date: 11/08/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: nr. 10 Wesley Peterson Murder Mystery
Own

When Kirsten Harbourn fails to turn up for her wedding, a shocking discovery is made; Kirsten is found, murdered on her bed, killed while she was getting ready for her marriage.
And it soon turns out, there's no shortage of suspects.
Kirsten was being stalked and kept quite a few secrets from her husband to be, Peter. She was also on to some dodgy goings on in the foreign language school she was working for.
And then Wesley and his colleagues are confronted with a second murder; this time of a recently married man, with no trace of his new wife.
As the investigations continue, join and separate again, and old corpse is found on farm land, and here it's Wesley's archaeologist friend Neil to investigate.
He soon discovers a link between the murdered girl and a recently discovered Elizabethan play that is soon to be performed with one of Wesley's colleagues, Rachel, in the cast. And it is watching the play that finally gives Wesley the clues he needs to solve the crime.
I really enjoy this series, although I can't stand Wesley's wife Pam, and am looking forward to the next one.