16 February 2020

Review: THE DAUGHTERS OF CAIN, Colin Dexter - audio book

  • format audio: Audible
  • Narrated by: Samuel West
  • Series: Inspector Morse Mysteries, Book 11
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 12-14-17
  • Originally published 1994
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio 
Synopsis (Audible)

Bizarre and bewildering - that's what so many murder investigations in the past had proved to be.... In this respect, at least, Lewis was correct in his thinking. What he could not have known was what unprecedented anguish the present case would cause to Morse's soul.

Chief Superintendent Strange's opinion was that too little progress had been made since the discovery of a corpse in a North Oxford flat. The victim had been killed by a single stab wound to the stomach. Yet the police had no weapon, no suspect, no motive.

Within days of taking over the case Chief Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis uncover startling new information about the life and death of Dr Felix McClure. When another body is discovered, Morse suddenly finds himself with rather too many suspects. For once, he can see no solution. But then he receives a letter containing a declaration of love....

My Take

Another excellent audio version with narration by Samuel West.
My respect for the writing of Colin Dexter grows. Morse is often convinced that his latest theory fits all the facts and then he finds that it doesn't. Lewis keeps asking questions, and then the aspect he doesn't understand of Morse's theory provides the springboard for a more acceptable explanation. Often Morse can't even explain what has given rise to his latest idea, but eventually, of course he is right.

My rating: 4.7

I've also read
4.3, INSPECTOR MORSE: BBB Radio Collection
4.5, THE SECRET OF ANNEXE THREE -audio book
4.6, THE WENCH IS DEAD- audio book
4.3, SERVICE OF ALL THE DEAD - audio book
4.4, LAST SEEN WEARING  - audio book
4.6, THE RIDDLE OF THE THIRD MILE - audio book
4.6, THE JEWEL THAT WAS OURS - audio book
4.8, THE WAY THROUGH THE WOODS #10, audio book 

Review: DEAD MAN SWITCH, Tara Moss

Synopsis (publisher)

She's a woman in a man's world ...

Sydney, 1946. Billie Walker is living life on her own terms. World War II has left her bereaved, her photojournalist husband missing and presumed dead. Determined not to rely on any man for her future, she re-opens her late father's detective agency.

Billie's bread and butter is tailing cheating spouses - it's easy, pays the bills and she has a knack for it. But her latest case, the disappearance of a young man, is not proving straightforward ...

Soon Billie is up to her stylish collar in bad men, and not just the unfaithful kind - these are the murdering kind. Smugglers. Players. Gangsters. Billie and her loyal assistant must pit their wits against Sydney's ruthless underworld and find the young man before it's too late.

My take


Here we have what appears to be the beginning of a new series, a female investigator in Sydney, and ex-soldier as her associate, and a historical setting to boot.

Billie is asked to look for a young 17 year old man, who disappears after visiting a Sydney night club to talk to a well known wealthy auctioneer.

The novel opens with a Prologue which appears to be an account of what has happened to the young man.

As befits the first novel in a series readers are given a lot of background about Billie and Sam, her associate, and the background material continues throughout the novel. The year is 1946 and Australia is beginning to recover from the aftermath of World War II, but there is a lot of opposition to Billie taking on what is seen as men's work.

A well told tale with strong adherence to historical setting if not strictly factual.

My rating: 4.5


About the author

She is a mother, a wife and a dual Canadian/Australian citizen, and currently resides with her family in Vancouver, BC.
Moss is an outspoken advocate for human rights and the rights of women and children, has been a UNICEF Australia Goodwill Ambassador since 2007 and since 2013 has been UNICEF Australia’s National Ambassador for Child Survival, and has visited Australian hospitals, maternity wards, refuges and schools as well as Syrian refugee camps in her UNICEF role. In 2014 she was recognised for Outstanding Advocacy for her blog Manus Island: An insider’s report, which helped to break information to the public about the events surrounding the alleged murder of Reza Barati inside the Australian-run Manus Island Immigration Detention Centre.

In 2015 Moss received an Edna Ryan Award for her significant contribution to feminist debate, speaking out for women and children and inspiring others to challenge the status quo, and in 2017 she was recognised as one of the Global Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life, for using her position in public life to make a positive impact in diversity, alongside Malala Yousufzai, Angelina Jolie, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet and more.

11 February 2020

Review: THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE, Felicity McLean

Synopsis (publisher)

Part mystery, part coming of age story, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is set in a distant suburb on the encroaching bushland, over the long hot summer of 1992. It's the summer of the school's Showstopper concert. The summer Tikka never forgot. The summer the Van Apfel sisters disappeared. Blackly comic, sharply observed and wonderfully endearing.

'We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn't the one we were trying to recall to begin with.'

Tikka Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992 - the summer the Van Apfel sisters disappeared. Hannah, beautiful Cordelia and Ruth vanished during the night of the school's Showstopper concert at the amphitheatre by the river, surrounded by encroaching bushland.

Now, years later, Tikka has returned home to try and make sense of the summer that shaped her, and the girls that she never forgot.

Blackly comic, sharply observed and wonderfully endearing, this is Picnic at Hanging Rock for a new generation, a haunting coming-of-age story with a shimmering, unexplained mystery at its heart.

My Take

Twenty years on, Tikka Molloy has always been haunted by the disappearance of the Van Apfel sisters. Were there things that she and her older sister should have told the investigating police at the time?

There is a strong Australian setting to this novel - not just the commentary in the background
of the Lindy Chamberlain case, but the heat, the bushland, and the flavour of the description. I thought there was also a touch of Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird), of things observed but not necessarily understood. And the story leaves us with more questions, the opportunity to write our own ending, to come to our own conclusions.

An excellent read.

My rating: 4.8

About the author
Felicity McLean is a writer and a journalist.  Her writing has appeared in The Good Weekend, the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, the Big Issue and more. She has written fiction and non-fiction books and has been published by HarperCollins Publishers, Allen & Unwin and Black Inc. Her latest book, Body Lengths, was co-written with Olympian Leisel Jones. It won the 2016 Australian Book Industry Awards 'Reader's Choice' for Small Publisher Adult Book of the Year, and it was Apple iBook's 'Best Biography of 2015′. As a ghostwriter she has collaborated with celebrities, sports stars, business leaders and others.This is her first novel.

Felicity will be sharing the stage with Michael Robotham at Adelaide Writers' Week 2020.

9 February 2020

Review: THE LIES WE TOLD, Camilla Way

  • this edition published by Harper Collins Publishers 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-00-815909-2
  • 376 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (back cover)

Do you promise not to tell?
A daughter
Beth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behaviour, the apparent delight in hurting others… sometimes Beth is scared of her, and what she could be capable of.

A son
Luke comes from the perfect family, with the perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without trace, and his girlfriend Clara is left desperate to discover what has happened to him.

A life built on lies
As Clara digs into the past, she realizes that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke's long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke's life is in danger because of the lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can she find him before it's too late? 

My Take

Plenty of little mysteries in this story. A number of narrators too: Beth, Clara and Hannah herself. A story that unfolds over 31 years, and several settings. So it keeps the reader on their toes.

The focal point is Luke's disappearance and what Clara finds out stems from her attempts to find him.

An engrossing read but I wasn't entirely convinced by the final pages.

My rating: 4.4

I've also read
4.5, WHO KILLED RUBY?


6 February 2020

Review: THE RECKONING, Jane Casey

  • this edition published by Minotaur Books 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-312-62200-8
  • 373 pages
  • source: my local library
  • Maeve Kerrigan #2
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

To the public, he's a hero: a killer who targets convicted paedophiles.

Two men are dead already - tortured to death.

Even the police don't regard the cases as a priority. Most feel that two dead paedophiles is a step in the right direction.

But to DC Maeve Kerrigan, no one should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. Young and inexperienced, Kerrigan wants to believe that murder is murder no matter what the sins of the victim. Only, as the killer's violence begins to escalate, she is forced to confront exactly how far she's prepared to go to ensure justice is served...

My take

This turned out to be a very complex, and rather slow read. Told mainly by Maeve, but also through a second character. The complexity of the plot was nearly its undoing.

Someone is targeting paedophiles within a fairly confined geographic area, trying to get the truth out of them as they are slowly tortured and eventually killed. But what is the truth that the person is looking for? Is it about revenge or personal justice, or is he looking for someone? Eventually the killer makes a mistake and is caught, but then the second part of the hunt begins. A race against time to find at least two missing girls.

Maeve Kerrigan is assigned to a new DI who seems to regard her as decoration, not required to comment or use her brain. It goes right against how Maeve sees herself.
 
My rating: 4.5

I've also read
4.6, THE MISSING - stand alone, debut title
4.3, THE BURNING #1
4.5, LET THE DEAD SPEAK #7
4.6, CRUEL ACTS #8   

Maeve Kerrigan - series (Fantastic Fiction)
   0.5. Left For Dead (2013)
   1. The Burning (2010)
   2. The Reckoning (2011)
   3. The Last Girl (2012)
   4. The Stranger you Know (2013)
   5. The Kill (2014)
   6. After the Fire (2015)
   7. Let the Dead Speak (2017)
   7.5. One in Custody (2019)
   7.6. Love Lies Bleeding (2019)
   8. Cruel Acts (2019)
   9. The Cutting Place (2020)

1 February 2020

Pick of the Month January 2020

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month 2019
Many crime fiction bloggers write a summary post at the end of each month listing what they've read, and some, like me, even go as far as naming their pick of the month.

This meme is an attempt to aggregate those summary posts.
It is an invitation to you to write your own summary post for January 2020, identify your crime fiction best read of the month, and add your post's URL to the Mr Linky below.
If Mr Linky does not appear for you, leave the URL in a comment and I will add it myself.

You can list all the books you've read in the past month on your post, even if some of them are not crime fiction, but I'd like you to nominate your crime fiction pick of the month.

That will be what you will list in Mr Linky too -
e.g.
ROSEANNA, Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo - MiP (or Kerrie)

You are welcome to use the image on your post and it would be great if you could link your post back to this post on MYSTERIES in PARADISE.


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