Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Reading in April

April's reads! Definitely in no particular order, and I think all crime this time.

Deathly Wind (Inspector Torquil McKinnon #2)
Keith Moray, Deathly Wind:  I’m sorry, the lurking ten-year-old in me just wants to giggle at the title! Glasgow gangsters, dead dogs, revenge and retribution: quite an entertaining read once you get all the characters sorted out.

Murder Solstice (Inspector Torquil McKinnon #3)
Keith Moray, Murder Solstice: Entertaining now I’ve got to know the characters a little, though I still don’t want to know what everyone is driving or riding. Incidentally sixteen is the age of legal responsibility in Scotland. I think I’ll happily carry on with this series.
A Matter of Love and Death
Carmen Radtke, A Matter of Love and Death: Very different from the Missing Bride series but really interesting, beautifully sensitive and suspenseful. Set in Adelaide in a time of poverty and distress, this sees respectable telephonist Frances edging into a much more dubious world of nightclubs and illicit drinking, yet she manages to hold true to herself. A very satisfying mystery.
The Janissary Tree (Yashim the Eunuch #1)
Jason Goodwin, The Janissary Tree: Yashim is a eunuch in early 19th century Istanbul, able to enter the harem of the Sultan and investigate the murder of one of the girls, but also trusted to help the seraskier investigate the deaths of of four young officers in his new army, the force brought in to replace the Janissaries. The Janissaries, however, do not really want to be replaced. This is a fascinating insight into the Istanbul of the time, fragile, flammable, and frightening in many ways – exciting, too.
The Lockington Legacy by Lynda Wilcox
Lynda Wilcox, The Lockington Legacy: A very entertaining, light read, with an awful lot of Ls in it! Linzi and Loren Repton have set up a detective agency, and are commissioned to recover the Lockington Legacy, a diamond necklace, in the course of which they stumble upon a murder. Instrumental in their solution is the mysterious Magda, dog owner and feeder of the homeless who looks like a bag lady but is evidently much more (quite apart from consuming heroic quantities of tea and biscuits). I need to find out more about Magda!

Dark Asylum (Jem Flockhart, #2)
E.S.Thomson, Dark Asylum: The setting has shifted to a lunatic asylum but this plot is just as deep, macabre and intriguing as the first book, and the writing is just as good. As insanity is a looming threat in these books this is particularly poignant for our main character: there’s just enough relief to keep us going.
Nothing to Hide (DC Constance Fairchild, #2)
James Oswald, Nothing to Hide: Constance is a much put-upon person, so that the reader feels some kind of relief when she fetches up in the Leith Walk home of Madame Rose and her cats, to be succoured and supported. Constance is rather self-destructive (she reminds me a bit of Claire Balding and her autobiography My Animals and Other Family) but very sympathetic and we really do want her to win, even if occasionally we’d like her to keep her mouth shut just for a little while. I’m sorry it’s written in the present tense, but it’s possible to get past it as it’s first person narrative.
A Dark Matter
Doug Johnstone, A Dark Matter: This was not what I was expecting – I had thought from comments I had read that it would be more comedic. Instead it is tragic, wistful in places, but ultimately very pleasing with some very odd turns in the mysteries that are investigated by this odd family of undertakers and private detectives in Edinburgh. For anyone concerned about these things (like me) the cat is all right.
The Stone Circle (Ruth Galloway, #11)
Elly Griffiths, The StoneCircle: Really enjoyed this as usual – the perfect pandemic escape. I had intended to ration it and instead read it in a couple of evenings. What a shame!
Cecilia Peartree, The Spy who came out of the Bushes: Delighted to meet the 20th Pitkirtly mystery, which even makes reference to the demand for archivists in the black economy. Oh, I love Christopher and Amaryllis! And all the other regulars – and poor Maisie Sue whose wedding day to Benjamin or Benedict is inevitably spoiled by the appearance of her supposedly ex husband sporting a fatal knife wound.

Death In Shanghai (Inspector Danilov #1)
M.J. Lee, Death in Shanghai: I wasn’t sure about the cliched British (fine, no doubt a lot of British administrators were indeed silly asses but this was a bit shallow) or the endlessly dancing waiters, but I was intrigued by the set-up and keen to know more. I found a lot of it to be rather trite, and here and there rather American. But there was originality here, too, and some well observed characters: I don’t think I’d like to work with Danilov, but I enjoyed reading about him, and about Strachan.
The Last Bloody Straw (DCI Logan Crime Thrillers, #5)
J.D. Kirk, The Last Bloody Straw: Another excellent episode in this series, black and hilarious by turns. The twist at the end was both necessary and satisfactory - or should I say twists? Some more foreseeable than others. And poor DC Tyler is beginning to come into his own.

Missing Believed Dead by Chris Longmuir
Chris Longmuir, Missing Believed Dead: the third in the Dundee Crime series. I was really trying to find her suffragette series but kept missing! Anyway, these are very good. This third one has a missing girl who seems to have come home, thus causing more disruption in her family almost than her original disappearance. An excellent mystery, right up to the last minute (and maybe even beyond).