Thursday 7 May 2020

Two crime yarns and currently reading

I'm two reviews behind (nothing new there) so I'll catch up by reviewing them briefly today.

First up, A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie. This is the first book in the hugely popular, 'Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones' series.

Superintendent Duncan Kincaid is given a week in a time-share apartment in Yorkshie by his cousin who's unable to go. It's not the kind of holiday he would normally go on but it's free so off he goes. He's shown around and told about the other guests by a management employee called Sebastian, a day or two later two children find Sebastian's body floating face down in the swimming pool, dead. Kincaid had previously kept his occupation a secret but now of course it comes to light and is resented by the investigating officer who has a decided mean streak. Unable to resist investigating, it doesn't take long before Kincaid discovers all kinds of secrets being kept by his fellow residents of the timeshare, affairs, secret children, illness and so on. But he needs help and that's where a colleague back in Scotland Yard, Gemma Jones, comes in...

I really enjoyed this. I think my favourite thing is that Duncan Kincaid is not an alcoholic, drug addicted, tormented soul but an ordinary chap doing a difficult job to the best of his ability. What a refreshing change that makes! (And is one of the reasons I enjoy vintage crime stories so much as the tormented policeman is a rare thing in those.) I also rather like couples investigating (Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, Daisy Dalrymple and husband, Alec, and so on) so look forward to seeing how this relationship pans out. Loads of people love this series so that gives me confidence to read more.

Finally, The Only Survivor by Katherine Pathak. This is book two in the author's 'Imogen and Hugh Croft' series.

Imogen Croft's brother Michael, who is spending a lot of time in the family's shared holiday home on the Scottish island of Garansay, is called out as a member of the local lifeboat crew when a helicopter crashes into the sea. The helicopter is carrying a family who have just left a wedding and are heading home, tragically only the son, 19 year old Cameron Fleming, survives. The young man and Michael become quite attached, Michael becoming a father-figure to Cameron. Imogen, Hugh and their family go to Garansay for a break and meet the boy but Imogen is unable to shake the feeling that something about the whole business doesn't feel right. No one else feels this way so what exactly is the problem?

Another very enjoyable book. And another couple of course which, as a said earlier, I really like and it helps too that they too are ordinary... positive, interesting people who know how to 'think' and I really appreciate that. The setting is excellent, I do love me a Scottish island location and great descriptions of the Atlantic Ocean in that area and what it's capable of. Lots of messing about in boats and on beaches and walking... this is a real trip to the Hebrides for the armchair traveller like me. The mystery slowly unfolds revealing little secrets along the way and then at the end 'Wham' a twist I did not see coming! I don't get taken by surprise very often so I tend to really appreciate it when I do. It's nice to see this series get into its stride and I shall go and grab book three, Lawful Death, soon.

I'm currently reading a clutch of books but these are the main three.

Footnotes: A Journey Round Britain in the Company of Great Writers by Peter Fiennes is a joy. I'm about halfway through and in no hurry whatsoever because I don't want it to end.

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis is that rarity - a comedy science fiction story. Enjoying this one too and love how much it's based on Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome.

My omnibus copy of the Diary of a Provincial Lady has four books in it. I've read two and am now up to The Provincial Lady in America. It's joyful, I love it.

So it seems I'm particularly fortunate at the moment because everything I'm reading is cheerful and making me smile. Small blessings.



DesLily said...

Well you sure are picking good ones to enjoy them so much! I just finished another Pern book and (you'd better be sitting) I started a small book by McCaffrey with 4 "Short Stories" about Pern !! ME! Short stories!! Don't faint!

Lark said...

I love a Scottish island setting, too! :D

Kay said...

So glad you enjoyed the Crombie book and that series gets better and better. In my opinion. I'm going to check out the other one you mentioned as I don't think I know anything about it. Scotland - sign me up!

Cath said...

Pat: I think I've seen that little Pern book you have, someone gave it to my grand-daughter a few years back. Next time I see her I'll have to borrow it.

Lark: Yeah, it's kind of idyllic isn't it. I've been up to that coast but only glimpsed the islands from afar.

Kay: Really pleased to hear the Crombie series gets better and better. Yes, I feel that way about Scottish settings too, although not keen on inner cities, prefer the Highlands and Islands.

Constance said...

I am a big Crombie fan and I am glad you liked this first book - some find it slow but most authors are still feeling their way with the first in a series. I wasn't sure my impatient sister would like it but one January I lent it to her and before a month had gone by she had read all of Crombie's books and blown ahead of me!

I am not familiar with Katherine Pathak but I am intrigued and excited to find a new author, although she doesn't seem to be published in the US. Have you read her other books or just this Imogen and Hugh series?

I am another who likes Scottish settings.

TracyK said...

Very glad that you enjoyed the Deborah Crombie book. I haven't read them all but liked most of the ones I read. I finished The Provincial Lady in America last night. My favorite so far.

Cath said...

Constance: I completely agree that with a first book most authors are still feeling their way. You really can't expect brilliance straight away so I tend to give a lot of leeway with a first book. I find it usually takes 3 or 4 books for an author to reach his or her stride.

I've now read two books from this Imogen and Hugh series and one from her DCI Dani Bevan series and that was also good.

Tracy: I'm almost finished with The Provincial Lady in America, it's been *so* enjoyable. I want to read 'Wartime' fairly quickly.