Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November Reads

Elizabeth's Women by Tracy Borman
Not a mystery, but a well researched history of the women in the life of Queen Elizabeth I, this reads like a novel and I couldn't put it down even thoough I am well familiar with the life and times of the queen. If you like Elizabethan mysteries like those of Fiona Buckley or Karen Harper, both of which feature QEI as a character,it's fascinating to read some of the real history.

Queen's Cure
Karen Harper

Speaking of. Very good mystery and the facts are pretty solid. They have a fairly light tone, which does seem a bit at odds with the material but still good. them Plan to read the rest of the series. Fiona Buckley's Ursula Blanchard mysteries are also very good with a gritty edge to them. She has a new one coming in January.

Sup with the Devil
Barbara Hamilton

Latest Abigail Adams mystery. The plot was intricate and a bit confusing. But the background is really well done, although I keep seeing Laura Linney and Paul Giametti as John and Abigail. Set at Harvard where Abigail's nephew is studying, the story takes you on a claustrophobic romp through the dark woods in search of pirate gold or early pornography just
as the king is declaring martial law in Boston due to the recent tea party.

Three-Day Town
Margaret Maron

For those who like Deborah Knott, you'll like it. I like her better in Colleton County with her terrific family. She seems a little out of her depth in NYC. This also features Maron's other detective, annoyingly stoic police detective Sigrid Harald.

Air time
Hank Phillipi Ryan

This time Charlie McNally is investigating counterfeit designer purses while trying not to wreck her first real love in ages. I felt like I learned a lot. About designer purses that is. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Cipher Garden
Martin Edwards

Another favorite. So well written and enjoyable.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Poison Pen!

Just what to take moment to praise the publisher, Poison Pen. Really finding a lot of good new crime fiction published by them. A lot of non-traditional detectives, interesting settings, and characters. I look forward to the next PP author I read.

Recent reads

Pirate King, Laurie King
A Crimson Warning, Tasha Alexander

Two new novels in these popular and well-written historical series. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. They share appealing heroines in Mary Russell (Mrs. Sherlock Holmes) and Lady Emily Hargreaves. Both have interesting historical settings and characters.

Pirate is set in the post-WWI British film industry, a story about a film within a film (of Pirates of Penzance) set in Portugal with a real and scary pirate and various other folks. I've enjoyed every one of the revisionist Mary Russell mysteries. They are a cut above - amusing and thought provoking with interesting slice of history with interesting settings and still a hint of the curmudgeonly charm that makes Conan Doyle's Holmes so enduring. Anyway, this one is a bit tedious with its silly film plot and it takes a long time to get to the point. Mary is still appealing, the dialogue is fun, and Portugal/North Africa setting dreamy and scary.

Crimson, the latest in the Lady Emily series, is set in Victorian England. Lady Emily is a bit of classics scholar turned detective and secret agent. I complained about her two previous novels set, respectively, in Turkey and France (http://hitormystery.blogspot.com/2010/01/tears-ofboredom.html and http://hitormystery.blogspot.com/2011/04/mad-bad-and.html).

This latest one has her back in London in her high society life in which she is not entirely comfortable. It's hard to feel too much sympathy with the perfect Lady Emily and her romance novel marriage. Her friends think she's brilliant - only her mother doesn't like her (thank God for this). Red paint is splashed on the houses of those with secrets and all society is afraid - a horrific murder, mysterious downtrodden deaf people, and Ivy (sweet Ivy!) has a secret. And those who dislike Emily must be odious. But I still found things to enjoy - such as glimpses of Victorian society, the British Museum and Library.

So I recommend both with qualifications. Read the early books in these series!