Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Several short reviews

So, three books to catch up on quickly, read between Brat Farrar at the beginning of the month and the anthology, Heavy Weather which I reviewed recently.

First up, Post Captain by Patrick O'Brian.

This is book two in the author's Aubrey/Maturin series. The start of the book finds Captain Jack Aubrey kicking his heals in England and hiring a house in the country while the Royal Navy decides what to do with him. A Mrs. Williams and her daughters enter the fray along with a cousin (?) they have staying with them, Diana Villiers. Cue lots of romantic shenanigans and rivalries between Aubrey and Maturin and this reads just like a Regency Romance. I gather there has been a connection made between the author and Jane Austen, I shall have to investigate. This takes up about a third of the novel and then Jack is given command of an oddly built ship that no one else wants and off they all go to test it out in the English Channel. Great stuff and a really superb second installment of the series. I'm champing at the bit to read more but am trying to show restraint (Ha!) so as not to gobble them all up at once. I'm also interested to know more about O'Brian himself so will check to see if there is a biography at some stage. 

Next, Diamonds and Dust by Carol Hedges.

Industrialist, Herbert King, who has just rescued his niece Josephine from the clutches of an orphanage has been brutally murdered. It's down to Josephine and Herbert's mistress, Lileth, to discover the culprit in Victorian London. There's a large cast of very well written characters including a husband hunting mama, Mrs. Thorpe, and her disinterested daughter, Isabella, the two rather ineffective policemen in charge of the case, and 'Oi' a delightful young streetsweeper. I enjoyed this Victorian romp very much, definite shades of Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle in its weirdness but that suits me very well, the weirder the better in my opinion, you can never have enough 'weird'. This is the first book in the author's 'Victorian Detective' series and I notice the second book, Honor and Obey, is about an entirely different set of people apart from the police detectives. I'd sort of assumed that Joesphine King and Lily would reappear but apparently not. An enjoyable romp anyway.

Lastly, Death Has Deep Roots by Michael Gilbert.

The trial of Victoria Lamartime, a hotel worker and ex-French Resistance fighter, is about to start. It's thought that she murdered Colonel Thoseby who worked with The Resistance during WW2, as she was the one who discovered his body in the hotel where she works. Everyone thinks she's guilty including her own defense counsel so Victoria dismisses them and hires a firm of solicitors, Markby, Wragg and Rumbold. Only Rumbold's son, known as 'Nap' is available so he duly takes on the case. They get an adjournment and Nap is off to France to discover what he can about the connection between the accused and the dead colonel and he only has a few days to get some answers. A lot of this book consists of a courtroom drama and I'm not really a great fan of those. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this one immensely. Gilbert's writing is always perfection itself and the French sections of the book were excellent and kept my attention well. This is book five in the author's Instector Hazlerigg series but don't go expecting that, he's hardly in it... it's all about Nap Rumbold and two assistants, going about their business separately to solve a murder, and was a delightful read.


 

13 comments:

DesLily said...

As usual.. wow!... O'Brien, nice Irish name! lol

Diamonds and Dust sounds interesting.. I will check on it. Danke! lol

TracyK said...

I am glad you liked Post Captain and are planning to continue the series. I had read that there are companion books to the series and had considered getting one or two but not sure. I will probably start Post Captain soon, even if I end up reading it at the pace of a chapter a week, for the read-long. I have several books planned for April reading so otherwise would not start it for a few weeks.

I had hoped to read the remaining books in the Instector Hazlerigg series in order, but I realize from the ones I have read that the series seems to be only loosely connected so probably doesn't matter. So far I have read Close Quarters and Smallbone Deceased.

Lark said...

Diamonds and Dust sounds like the kind of Victorian mystery I enjoy. Especially with a character called Oi. :D

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

All 3 are new to me. I like the sound of #2 and 3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Cath said...

Pat: So nice chatting to you on the phone tonight. I think you would probably like Diamonds and Dust, it's very 'Victorian weird'. LOL

Tracy: Oh right, I didn't know there were companion books to the series, I shall look into that. He also wrote some standalone books which sound very interesting. My next book for that series is HMS Surprise which I gather is 'really' good. I'll be reading that in April probably.

Yes, I honestly don't think it's necessary to read the Hazlerigg books in order. He was hardly in Death Has Deep Roots, it's really a standalone.

Lark: It's a fun book and lots of weirdness. Yes, 'Oi'. And he was a great little character.

Diane: #2 and #3 were both pretty good. To be honest it's been yet another good reading month.

CLM said...

Some people say O'Brian is Jane Austen on ships and they also say that Naomi Novik's Temeraire series is Austen and O'Brian with dragons! I don't think I ever finished the first O'Brian but will probably try again some time because my mother really enjoyed the series and our taste is very similar.

Cath, if you have not read His Majesty's Dragon, you should try it (or put it on your mental list). I don't even like adult fantasy very much and I found it delightful.
https://www.naominovik.com/his-majestys-dragon/

Sam Sattler said...

Interesting choices, Cath...different periods to immerse yourself in. I haven't read many of O'Brien's books but do have several on hand for when that bug strikes me again. The Gilbert books, as I remember them at least, are all enjoyable and well written. It's been too long...that's one series I really need to pick up again.

Cath said...

Constance: Ah, right. I can see what they mean as I have actually read the first two Temeraire books and there is a similarity. I enjoyed those first two Novik books but it was about 10 years ago and I don't think my library had the next one so I sort of forgot them. Which is a shame so I'll make a mental note to get back to them soon. It's worth persevering with the O'Brian books, because eventually something clicks and you realise that you're enjoying them.

Sam: Until you pointed it out I hadn't realised that all three were historical. I know that seems daft...

I've been so impressed with Gilbert's writing. He's become one of my favourite authors within a very short time.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I'm glad you liked Death Has Deep Roots - I enjoyed it immensely too. Diamonds and Dust sounds really tempting - I don't think I've heard of Carol Hedges' books before.

Cath said...

Margaret: I seem to enjoy everything I read by Michael Gilbert. Such a good writer. Diamonds and Dust is a fun, quirky sort of read, a good lockdown book.

Vallypee said...

Super reviews, Cath. Just to say I've read all Carol Hedges' books and Josephine King and Lily do appear again, intermittently, throughout the series. In fact several of the main characters make comebacks, like cameos, during the series. It's a delightful series.

Susan said...

The first and last book sounds fun. The middle one might be too weird for me. I like quirky, but not TOO quirky :) Great reviews!

Cath said...

Val: Thank you! And thanks too for clarifying a bit about Carol Hedges' series. That's nice to know and I expect I'll be reading on at some stage. I suffer (if you can call it 'suffering', ha!) a bit from the 'too many books not enough time syndrome'. LOL

Susan: They were all good, I seem to be having yet another good reading month. I wonder if this is possibly because I'm getting better and better at choosing books that I will enjoy.