Saturday, November 13, 2010
A sampler of mystery reads
Abigail Adams Mysteries: Barbara Hamilton Ninth Daughter, Marked Man
Hank Phillippi Ryan Prime Time
I wanted to like this - HPR sent me a nice note and said she would read my blog when I signed up for the 4mysteryreaders listserv, which was really nice. I read HPR's prize winning short story On the House and it was excellent. Just not buying Charlotte McNalley, her on camera news reporter for a big city TV station - the plot was taut and the dialogue not un-witty but it didn't grab me. I may read some of the others though, just to see if it gets better.
Elly Griffiths The Crossing Places: A Ruth Galloway Mystery
Set in the UK in a Norfolk salt marsh full of stone circles and bog bodies and with its main character an overweight archaeologist loner, this would seem so perfect for me that I had to read it but once I started reading it I found it hard-going. It has a fabulous atmosphere and the characters, notably Ruth Galloway, are human and flawed, and therefore kind of interesting but the human interactions, institutional settings, don't ring true. In one part because it focuses on the kidnapping and murder of young girls and that is very hard for me to read (I can get past it at times like the recent Nevada Barr but it has to be very well done). Another problem was summed up on another blog, a commenter said that it is very hard for non-archaeologists to write about archaeology in a way that seems credible and that is true here. Although Elly's husband is an archaeologist, she makes too many mistakes (archaeology done by one person, no description of archaeological techniques that make sense, instant C14 dating, no continuity on the descriptions of bodies and artifacts) to be able to buy it. http://www.ellygriffiths.co.uk/crossingplaces.htm