First up, Out of the Deep I Cry by Julia Spencer-Fleming. This is my book 22 for Bev's Mount TBR 2014 reading challenge.
This is the third book in Julia Spencer-Fleming's Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series of books. I enjoyed the first two books but I absolutely *loved* this one. Chapters are entitled 'Now' or 'Then' indicating that they deal either with the historical end of the plot or the modern day, and I found this worked extremely well. Both stories were fascinating and the two plotlines interwoven very skilfully indeed. I learnt the terrible toll diptheria took on families before the advent of vacinations. And even once those were established how frightened people were of the process of inoculation and had to be persuaded by doctors to have their children done. I had no idea and also knew very little about the horrors of diptheria, being a child of the fifties and sixties when vacinations against such diseases were commonly accepted and given as a matter of course.
Clare and Russ are two of my absolute favourite crime solving pairs. The background story of their relationship I find rivetting and not a little heart-breaking. I like reading about them as much as I enjoy the actual mystery elements of the books. I also love the New York state setting. I've been lucky enough to go there and the descriptions are spot on... it's so nice to be reminded of this beautiful area and it makes me long to return. I'm so happy that there are another five books in this series to read.
Next, Up With the Larks by Tessa Hainsworth. This non-fiction is my book 23 for Bev's Mount TBR 2014 challenge and my book 5 for the Postal Reading challenge which is being hosted by the Indextrious Reader.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and gobbled it up in a day or so. Being Cornish (although I don't live there and this was a slightly different area to the one I come from) it was interesting to read how others see us. Embarrassing at times too... the insularity made me roll my eyes quite a lot as I know it's all true. But what comes over very strongly is how much in love with the Cornish countryside and coast the author is. Beautiful descriptions of both made me feel quite homesick. I also really enjoyed reading about the day to day business of being a postwoman. Very interesting, hilarious at times, and damned hard work! The couple's struggle made for a very absorbing read and I plan to get hold of the sequel, Seagulls in the Attic, from the library at some stage.
Lastly, Holy Disorders by Edmund Crispin. I read this for Bev's Vintage Mystery Bingo challenge and it covers the category 'A book by an author with a pseudonym' as Edmund Crispin's real name was Bruce Montgomery.
Another outing with eccentric English professor, Gervase Fen, and whoever he manages to pick up along the way. Fen himself doesn't actually appear until well into the story and the book is as much about Geoffrey Vintner, a middle-aged, unlikely hero, who falls in love at first sight with a beautiful girl, as it is about Fen himself. And it's none the worse for that either. As usual the tale is peopled with eccentric characters and this time they're mainly members of the clergy attached to the cathedral. Fen, as usual, has developed some mad obsession and on this occasion it's moths and butterflies that he bores everyone to death with. There's a lot of action, a lot of humour, a bit of romance, and some nicely described Devon scenery. Not bad at all but possibly not quite as good as The Moving Toyshop or Buried for Pleasure. A joyous series of vintage crime books though and I plan to read them all.