Two murder mysteries to review today... it's all I seem to be reading at the moment, not that I see that as a 'bad' thing.
First up, Swiss Vendetta by Tracee de Hahn.
I was ever so slightly underwhelmed by this. The first half of the book was really slow and I might have given up if I hadn't been reading it for a couple of challenges. As it was it did improve, more began to happen, and I did become interested in the case. But I still found the characters a little bit flat. There's a back story that concerns how Agnes's husband died and why, I found this distracting to be honest, although the truth when it came out was a surprise. The setting for the book was excellent and there is a strong feeling of Switzerland in a snowstorm and the aftermath - that I very much liked. All in all, this book was a bit hit and miss for me but that's OK, it's impossible to love everything.
Swiss Vendetta is my 5th. book for the What's in a Name reading challenge and covers the category, 'A Nationality'. It's also my 7th. book for The European Reading challenge, covering the country of Switzerland.
Next, Wash this Blood Clean from my Hand by Fred Vargas, book six in the Commissaire Adamsberg series.
Oh my goodness, how can Fred Vargas possibly manage to maintain the quality of this series like she does? This was so complicated, so many layers going on, the historical case or cases, the DNA course, Adamsberg's personal life interfering with those two things - his own stupidty, which is a bit mind boggling to be honest. You want to give him a shake at times. The Quebec setting is beautifully done, the cultural differences between the local Quebecois and their counterparts from Paris was beautifully illustrated and very funny. Every single character is so real, all with their different quirks and habits and failings. I love Clémentine and her friend Josette, the eighty year old computer hacker. Hilarious. I've loved every single book in this series and hate the thought that eventually I'll finish them all and have to wait for a new book to be written.
Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand is my first book for the 12th. Annual Canadian Book challenge which is being hosted by The Indextrious Reader.
So, Vargas is one of your favorites! I know how you feel .. David Bell is one of mine and I do have to wait for each new book! Ugh. And Michael Scott hasn't put any out in a while.. sigh... (like the other 130 some odd books sitting here don't count! LOL)
Cath, I met Tracee de Hahn at a mystery conference and this book is her first I believe. She was quite interesting to talk to and listen to on a panel. Her husband is Swiss and so her knowledge of the country (think they might have lived there for a while) is authentic. I haven't read this book yet, but I keep meaning to. Reminding myself that I will try it next year.
Pat: Yep, I have a handful of real favourites and Fred Vargas is one (others are Louise Penny and Elly Griffiths). I try to spread their books out but am rapidly getting throught them all.
Kay: Oh, how interesting that you met Tracee de Hahn. Yes, I saw that she does actually live in Switzerland which is why the setting in the book is very strong I think. Good luck with it when you get to it.
I just visited Fred Vargas's Wikipedia page. Wow--so many fascinating accomplishments! Which one of her Commisaire …. woops?? should I read first. Do you happen to know which one is the first in the series? I'm very interested because of your keen interest in the series. It sounds like it's right up my alley.
Not sure about Swiss Vendetta, although it seems to have it good points, and it is hard to find a book for Switzerland. I do have to get back to the Fred Vargas series. So many good books and authors, I cannot keep up.
How are you getting on with A Discovery of Witches? I started it this week for book group and I liked the Oxford setting, the Bodleian library and all the academia, but then I got to the second chapter where the vampire starts to climb the building and wondered whether it's going to be some kind of Twilight thing which isn't really my cup of tea. Not giving up yet though!
Judith, yes Fred Vargas is one talented individual. Yes, I think the first book is called, The Chalk Circle Man. I don't remember a lot about that one if I'm honest but subsequent books, read over the last couple of years, have been excellent.
Tracy: I can't, in all conscience, recommend Swiss Vendetta, but it was a good book to read for Switzerland, though I'm sure there must be others... I haven't looked.
Nicola: I did finish A Discovery of Witches, my review is among my reviews for October. It was 'OK'... no more than that. I'll be honest, I'm not at all sure it'll be your kind of thing.
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