Usually September is my busiest month of the year, for various reasons. This year the busyness began halfway through August and has not stopped yet! All the paid work that had mysteriously faded away at the beginning of the year resurfaced suddenly, there were family birthdays, breakdowns of key domestic machinery, a Christmas Fair to prepare new decorations for, a book signing, the Granite Noir launch, a new teaching term to handle, a few trips away for work and family ... it never seems to end!
Reading is squeezed in, though, at the end of the day when the brain's not up to much else, and here's a selection that I think I haven't reviewed elsewhere.
Susanna Gregory The Westminster Poisoner. I don’t think I’ve read one of hers before but it was very good – fine Restoration setting, lively characters, and a very interesting note at the back placing it all in its historical context.
Ben Aaronovitch The Furthest Station Excellent as ever, and plenty to get your teeth into for a novella – almost forgot it wasn’t full length!
Bruce Beckham Murder in the Woods This was really quite quirky, oddly paced and observed, but in the end satisfying and well set in the Lakes.
Nikki Copleston The Shame of Innocence A good traditional police procedural with one or two nasty bits. The lead character is well drawn and there was plenty to speculate about not only in the cases themselves but also in the machinations of the police force. I’ll continue to look for others by this author.
David B. Lyons Midday Different and clever as we dig into the history of the four narrators to find the links between them, all in one Dublin morning. Definitely on the noir side.
Ed James Dyed in the Wool Another in the Scott Cullen series which I thoroughly enjoy. To be honest, Scott sometimes needs a slap or two to pull him out of his self-important misery, but we’ve all been there. He and his colleagues are definitely real people.
A.J. Mackenzie The Body in the Boat Another bit of historical here, back to late 18th century smuggling villages on the coast. Too many characters to cope with at first (not that I’m one to talk) but the detective and his female companion were original and in the end I enjoyed it very much – the setting, both historical and geographical, was excellent.
T.F. Muir An Eye for an Eye A more realistic St. Andrews than some I’ve read, and a good complex plot with memorable characters. On the noir side, definitely.
Janet O’Kane Too Soon a Death Lots of peril for the lead character in this second in O’Kane’s Borders series. Everyone seems to have a secret to hide and the plot is satisfying – a traditional with cosy bits, I’d say.
Margaret Skea By Sword and Storm Another installment in this historical series – not crime, this time, and though it’s set more in France than in Scotland I preferred it to the previous episode. She’s an excellent writer with fine attention to detail but the action still sweeps the plot along.
Theresa Talbot The Lost Children Though this was a subject that interests me, I’m afraid I didn’t finish this book. The lead character was not someone I liked at all, and there was no one else really that I could make much headway with. In fact I preferred the author’s travel bulletins on Radio Scotland. Hey ho – I might come back to it.
Oliver Tidy The Romney Marsh Mysteries – an omnibus of the first three (hope there are more) of these excellent traditional mysteries set in coastal Kent. I had already read the first one but it was still worth buying the boxed set. Great characters, good plots, lots of action in an interesting setting – and a bookshop with cake. I’d rather have crisps, but cake is not bad.
Steven Veerapen The Abbey Close Straying into Pat McIntosh’s territory, this is a mediaeval murder set in Paisley near Glasgow. It somehow lacked the charm of her books but was still interesting: it took me a while to warm to the main characters, but when I did I really enjoyed it. The plot worked well and it felt well placed in the historical context.
Lynda Wilcox An Appetite for Murder Another enjoyable outing for Verity Long, this time with added food. These are lovely relaxing books – plenty to engage the mind by way of plot, but somehow they are just a soothing, flowing read. I’m always delighted to see that there’s a new one out!
Paula Williams Murder Served Cold A new author for me and a good one – murder with a bit of romance and a decent plot.