So, I'm on a mini crime reading binge at the moment, possibly due to the fact that I didn't read many murder mysteries last month and, feeling the lack, I'm making up for it in August.
So, first up, The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths which is the second book in her 'Harbinder Kaur' series.
Shoreham is a seaside town on the south coast of England that plays host to quite a few retirement homes and complexes. Ninety year old Peggy Smith lives in one of the more expensive ones, keeping an eye on what goes on, making notes about people who go past on the prom etc., because this is what she's been used to doing all her life. When she's found dead in her flat no one thinks it's odd, she was very elderly after all. But Nakalka, one of the carers who comes in daily to see to her, is not happy and manages to convince DS Harbinder Kaur that Peggy might've been murdered. After all, Peggy's calling card has on it, 'Murder Consultant' and various murder mystery books in her flat have the dedication, 'To Peggy, thank you for the murders'... So this was 'huge' fun. And what was the most fun in my mind was the group of whacky individuals who set about investigating Peggy's demise together. There's Nakalka, the Ukrainian carer, Benedict the ex-monk and Edwin the ex-BBC employee, who was a friend of Peggy's and is himself quite elderly. Harbinder has to contend with this motley crew as she tries to discover whether Peggy was indeed murdered, and if so 'why?' I believe Elly Griffiths wrote this as a homage to crime writing, editors, bloggers, crime conventions, book signings, and it shows. It's a delight and as always Griffiths has her characterisations spot-on. Plus, it twists and turns like I don't know what as various crime writers become involved and under suspicion. Great stuff, I gave it a 5 on Goodreads.
Next, something completely different, Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris. This is part of my current Jane Austen 'thing', which started with 'Jane Austen July' and continues on because I loved it so much.
Jane and Lizzie Bennet have just got married and Caroline Bingley uses their wedding day, somewhat inappropriately, to announce her bethrothal to an American, Mr. Parrish. They marry but it's not long before Caroline's family start to notice some rather strange behaviour in her. It seems she's going downhill, mentally, and the family have a concerned conflab about what to do. Mr. Parrish wants to take her off to Louisana but the family are having none of it and it's decided to retire to Netherfield where it's quieter than London and the hope is that she might make a full recovery. Naturally, she doesn't, (well you all knew that) and things go from bad to worse. Attempts are made on people's lives by persons unknown and there's also a certain amount of weirdness in the shape of a Professor Randolph who has been called in by Parrish and believes in and studies the occult. Darcy is skeptical about it all but Lizzie is not so sure... Well this was also great fun. I don't think it's strictly necessary to have read Pride and Prejudice before you read it but it would help I feel. I felt that the author made a really good stab at keeping such iconic characters 'in character', only occasionally did I think the dialogue was not quite right for the time or country. But really this was an excellent mystery yarn, very pacey, I could easily see who the villain of the peace was but it didn't spoil my enjoyment at all. This is book 1 in Carrie Bebris's 'Mr. and Mrs. Darcy' murder mystery series and I liked it enough to read on... there are 7 books in all I believe.
Lastly, and this is even 'more' different, Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts of course).
Eve Dallas is a homicide detective in a futuristic New York. 2058 I think it is. Someone is knocking off high-class prostitutes, shooting them with guns which are now outlawed in the USA. One of the women killed was the grand-daughter of a senator who has chosen to leave her family behind and become a high-class call girl. It's because of this that Eve is assigned to the case and all is kept hush-hush. When another woman, very young, is killed all secrecy goes out of the window. During the course of her investigations Eve meets Rourke, a very wealthy business man. He's a suspect but she can't deny the physical attraction she feels for him and he sees a vulnerable woman with a lot of secrets and, loving a challenge, wants to know what she's hiding. Well. This is a 'hugely' popular series by Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb. It's 50 + books long and plenty of people have read the lot! I found it very pacey, exciting, I enjoyed it but I had an idea who the culprit was and was partly right. I'm not a great fan of a lot of sex in my crime novels and this has quite a bit. If that's not your thing this might not be for you. I was also not certain how much I liked Rourke. I didn't feel he made much of an effort to understand Eve's considerable problems as a New York police detective, I felt he put his own desires first and his aggressive pursuit of her did not sit well with me. I, however, am old and cynical - your mileage may vary. Will I read any more? I honestly don't know. I found this in a bunch of books my cousin gave me and I'm not sure I have the stamina to search out 50 books and try to read them all in order. On the other hand, the world building was interesting enough for me to be intrigued as to where these books go. Hmm, decisions, decisions.
So, three good crime mysteries. My favourite would definitely be The Postscript Murders, I loved its quirky Britishness and homage to crime writing, but all three were good in their own way. Happy reading!