5) Dead Cold – Louise Penny
I read about Louise Penny from the blog of John and C.T. at The Mystery Bookshelf and decided to buy a copy of the book first chance I got. The reviews from other eminent sources were just as complimentary with references to Agatha Christie and such. I must say that people must be very careful when they compare the works of a new artist to those of masters of yore as it can raise expectations to extremely high levels which are never too easy to accomplish. Dead cold is set in a sleepy idyllic Canadian village of Three Pines and is more a novel about the inter-personal relationships of the people of the village. A woman is murdered in front of the whole village on the ice rink and nobody has any idea who did it. Seems promising but isn’t really. Nowhere in the entire book did I catch a glimpse of Agatha Christie’s style of writing. I did like her description of the village and the people in it and found them more interesting. A murder thrown into such a setting just seems wrong on so many levels. The victim is such a horrible woman that you wonder why anyone is bothered with it all. The plot and the summary was all too contrived for me. Will I read another Penny novel? The answer is Yes; because I did like the village that reminded me of home. And also because I would like to read more of her work to try and figure out what it is that has attracted so many people to her writing.
6) Dissolution – C.J.Sansom
Another great novel by C.J. Sansom. I am reading his books in the reverse order from last to the beginning. I liked the plot in this book and Shardlake with a different apprentice at his elbow is younger, more rigid in his beliefs and prone to the temptations of the flesh more. As I compare his character from the later books I realize that he has matured as a human being and has better control over his emotions though he seems braver in this book and seems to become more frail as the years progress. I must say I liked this book better than Revelation. I read of critics who have made some comments on his writing as being plodding and too detailed but I wish to disagree. For the kind of novel he is writing in an particular time in history he really must work hard on making the reader familiar with the environment he is creating. and yes, maybe he might loose a few words here and there in the sentence formations but I feel they are nothing to crib about as it is better for an author to mature slowly and get better with each new novel that he puts up. But then maybe the critics liked the novels so much that the little mistakes seem unforgivable. I was also intrigued by the character of Mark, who is the son of Shardlake’s father’s steward and is currently in residence with him. He comes across as a simple soul who is often worried and troubled about the politics taking place in the courts.
7) The Anderson Tapes – Lawrence Sanders
As I started reading this book I was confused if this was fiction or actually a true story. It is written in the style of a documentary and is therefore very believable as something that is picked up directly from the police files with the interviews reported as they would be in the script of a play. I was surprised to find out that this was the author’s first novel at the age of 50! I have read quite a few of his novels and though none of them can be said to be great intellectual jewels, they are great as a light read on a journey or just to pass a lazy Sunday. This novel is indeed worthy of the praise heaped on it by so many people as it is definitely a gripping read from start to finish. It revolves around a group of criminals who plan to rob and entire block of luxury apartments in a single sweep. The entire plot is caught on tape on various tapes/bugs planted by either the different government agencies or the private individuals for their own particular interests. It makes you wonder when you read a book like this how easy it would be for government to monitor each and everything you do. I mean where is the democracy when you can’t even plot a simple non-violent robbery without the police having the entire operation on tape.
The other two books on Poe after The Poet that I wrote about earlier.
8) The Bookman’s Wake – John Dunning
I picked this book up cheap. That explains why I picked it up at all. It did not seem to be something I would enjoy. I was surprised. The book is about an ex-police officer who is now a book dealer/hunter Cliff Janeway who is roped into finding a girl who has skipped town. The reason he agrees to this request from an old colleague whom he frankly despised is because the girl is said to have stolen a book. The book is fascinating because it introduced me to an aspect of books that I have not really thought about a lot in all the years I have been reading. It talks about first editions of books and beautifully illustration limited editions of certain books that are simply a joy to read. As I read moved further and further into the story I realized I was more mesmerized by all the information I was getting rather than the mystery plot working in the background. I remembered going to old libraries when Dad was in the army and finding books with illustrations at the beginning of a chapter and the pages marked with little squiggles and I realize that it is impossible to find any such ‘beautification’ in the books nowadays. Is it because it is simply too expensive and the market for such books will be too low? This book is the reason why I have been mentioning about the covers of each book I have read this month. Also, the book that everyone is looking for in this mystery is non other than Edgar Poe’s Raven. This was the second book I read that referred to Poe after The poet.
9) Blowfly – Patricia Cornwell
I didn’t like it at all. I can’t understand why the name blowfly first of all and then the characters are all talking about things that happened in another book and they are all really sad and in danger. There is no real chase for the murderer who is caught in the the last four pages when the mystery abruptly ends. It was just no fun at all.
Maybe I should count the number of times I have said ‘at all’ in this post.