First up, The Mad Hatter Mystery by American author, John Dickson Carr. This qualifies for 'A Book by an Author You've Never Read' in the Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenge which is being hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block.
This is the second book in John Dickson Carr's 'Dr. Gideon Fell' series, written from the early 1930s to the late 1960s. I may have benefitted by reading the first book, The Hag's Nook, first, to be honest, as then I might have known a little more about Fell and his American associate, Rampole (I kept wanting to call him 'Rumpole')... how they met and so on. Possibly I may have felt a bit more of a connection to Fell if I had. As it was I enjoyed the mystery element quite a bit, there were lots of twists and turns and discoveries of the secrets people were keeping. The details of the Tower of London were interesting, nice to be reminded of my one and only visit there about 15 years ago. Really this was, to me, a servicable mystery story, fun, of its time, but I wasn't crazy about the amateur detective in it, Gideon Fell. I now own The Hag's Nook now so will read that in due course, probably for R.I.P. later in the year as it's a bit spooky by the look of it. Hopefully I might like that a bit more. I didn't 'dislike' this book at all, I just didn't love it in the way I'm loving Dorothy L. Sayers for instance.
Next, Sundiver by David Brin.
I gave this book a three star rating on GoodReads which is possibly a bit mean, really it was another three and a half. There were elements of it that I really liked. The concept of 'uplifting' by mentors I found interesting and the aliens introduced were intriguing and very well described. I liked the idea that humans themselves were uplifting dolphins and chimpanzees and that this gained them some acceptance in the eyes of the powers that be in the galaxy. The mystery element was quite strong - this is in effect a science fiction crime story - and that side of it held up quite well. Where it fell down for me was in the human characters. I felt very little empathy for Jacob, didn't care for him much at all. Another scientist who supposedly led the project felt really badly written to me when he should have been a strong, able character. All this detracted from what should have been a stonking good read and it's a shame. I will however continue with the series, partly because I went to the trouble of bringing several of them back from the US last time we were there, but also I do like the universe the author has created and would like to read more.
Lastly a book that I've been reading almost since Christmas, Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The Wartime stories of Mollie Panter-Downes
Sundiver and Good Evening, Mrs. Craven are both reads for the Mount TBR challenge which is being hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block.