Anyway, Maigret in Holland is my 5th. book for this challenge and covers the category: A book set anywhere other than the USA or the UK. In this case the setting is Holland of course.
Another brilliantly atmospheric Maigret case. I think Simenon was a clever writer all round but what he was especially clever at, to my mind, was creating atmospheric settings, often bleak areas or perhaps ordinary places in the depths of winter where locals are struggling to survive. He created a sense of place wonderfully and here it's a Dutch coastal village surrounded by dykes, windswept and insular, which Maigret feels has the appearance of a toy village... too perfect by half... and such places, in his experience, have many secrets. And so it turns out to be. This was another case full of human frailty, frustration at domestic situations, and individuals trapped in one way or another. Things people have always struggled with and probably always will, so although this book was written in 1940 it still has a remarkably modern feel to it and still feels relevant. I think I could easily become addicted to Commissaire Maigret and his crime solving capabilities. And that's fine because there were around 75 books and 28 short stories apparently! Enough to satisfy even me, hopefully.
Next up, A Moment of Silence by Miss Anna Dean. This book is for another challenge - My Kind of Mystery which is being hosted by Carolyn at Riedel Fascination. I'm also counting it for the Postal Challenge which is being hosted by The Indextrious Reader.
Some books are just pageturners, they can't help it, and I devoured this in a day or so, unable to put the thing down. It's very Jane Austen-centric in flavour, not quite the same standard of writing of course, but actually not bad and certainly very readable. It's partly an epistolary novel, I would say about a third of the narrative is made up of letters from Dido to her sister, Eliza, and this works very well to explain Dido's thought processes and also to remind the reader what's going on. And there's a lot going on in this book, a couple of plot strands that take a while to sort out for instance but also it's a very much a subtle comment on the plight of women in the Regency period. Especially the unmarried aunt, sister etc. who was relying on the charity of - usually - brothers in order to live. It was rather sad as they were often unpaid slaves at everyone's beck and call and had to put up with all kinds of sly verbal abuse. And I rather suspect that Dido was luckier than many! If I have any complaint it's that I didn't feel it was explained well enough at the start who exactly all the people in the house were. I got a bit confused, but I suspect that's me rather than anything else. All in all, an absolutely excellent read and I plan to read the other three Dido Kent books, which luckily my library seems to have. Can't believe I'm starting yet another new series.......