Anyway. First up is Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey. This is my book eight for Bev's Mount TBR 2016 challenge and my book four for her Vintage Mystery Cover Scavenger Hunt challenge, covering the category 'More than two People'. This is a vintage crime story set in the 1940s.
Well, this is yet another little gem from the pen of Josephine Tey. After reading The Franchise Affair, which I felt was more of a standalone than an Alan Grant instalment, I wondered if any of her real standalones might be worth a read. Good decision because they absolutely *are*. It seems to me that Josephine Tey was very good on describing small, insular worlds, places where things hadn't changed much in donkey's years... small towns and villages for instance and, in this case, a college of further education. (She apparently worked in a college for physical education so presumably knew what she was writing about.) She knew too that things were not always as perfect as they seemed in these places, especially when it came to them being described as having no crime or bad behaviour. It was ironic too that Miss Pym, the writer of the book on psychology, turned out not to be that good a judge of human behaviour after all. Such is life sometimes. I enjoyed this lovely little book tremendously, the world Tey created was fascinating, the interactions of the students, teachers and Miss Pym, the more gentle and less hectic days of the 1940s and just the overall atmosphere of the book. As I said, a little gem.
Lastly, Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell. This book was recommended by my lovely friend, Pat, at Here, There and Everywhere.
What to say about this one other than, 'If you like Victorian crime stories with a Dickensian bent then this is for you'. It's a bit gory, I will say that, but it's not horribly so. David Morrell (he wrote Rambo apparently) is a very skilled writer and he brought Victorian life in all its poverty and seediness and dense fog to life for me. It's full of wonderful little history lessons about London, which might sound boring but it's really not. Why were certain streets named as they were? Well, Pall Mall is after a popular game apparently and Piccadily is something to do with someone who made lace collars. What was the connection between The British Empire and the opium trade? Well, it was all pretty murky and conniving and worth reading this book just to find out a lot more about it in my opinion. I liked the use of Emily De Quincey's diaries to enhance the story, I liked the fact that it wasn't necessary to have read Confessions of an Opium Eater in order to understand the story, as I have not (I plan to), and I liked the interactions of the two detectives, Ryan and Becker, as they go about their business on the crime ridden streets of Victorian London. All in all a stonking good read and I'm very much obliged to Deslily for finding the book and recommending it. I already have book 2, Inspector of the Dead on my library pile and can't wait to read it.