10 December 2018

Review: MAN AT THE WINDOW, Robert Jeffreys

Synopsis (publisher)

When a boarding master at an exclusive boys’ school is shot dead, it is deemed accidental. A lazy and usually drunk detective is sent to write up the report. Cardilini unexpectedly does not cooperate, as he becomes riled by the privileged arrogance of those at the school. He used to have instincts. Perhaps he should follow them now…

With no real evidence he declares the shooting a murder and puts himself on a collision course with the powerful and elite of Perth. As he peels back layers, the school’s dark secrets being to emerge. But is his dogged pursuit of justice helpful or harmful to those most affected by the man’s death?

Man at the Window is the first in the Detective Cardilini series, set in 1960s Western Australia.

My Take

It is 12 months since Detective Cardilini's wife died and he has well and truly dropped his bundle. Before Betty's death he had the reputation of hard bitten excellent detective but no more. Even his son Paul can't keep him sober and on track.

St. Nicholas school has supplied Perth with many fine citizens, upstanding and successful businessmen, and it is the school that the police hierarchy attended. But the way in which they try to push any investigation of the death of the boarding master late one night, shot as he stands at the window of his room, does not sit well with Cardilini. Is it perversity or gut instinct that makes him declare he thinks the death is murder?

There are threats to the continuance of Cardilini's career, already on the rocks, but he continues to follow tiny threads and eventually thinks he has worked out who did the shooting. Meanwhile his personal life appears to be getting back on track as he works on the garden that he has neglected for 12 months. Eventually his discoveries lead to an understanding of what caused the shooting, but also a dilemma about who to punish.

This is a very topical story, considering the moral dilemma that has recently faced our society, particularly related to institutionalised sexual abuse.

A very engaging start to what promises to be an excellent classic noir series.

My rating: 4.9

About the author

Robert Jeffreys has worked as an actor, teacher, builder, labourer, cleaner, real estate agent, personal security agent and playwright of the professionally produced stage plays Cox Four, Covert, The Simple Truth, and The Messenger. ABC Radio National featured his radio plays, Covert, which received an AWGIE award, and Bodily Harm. He has also published a poetry anthology, Frame of Mind. Robert's debut novel, Man at the Window, is the first in the Detective Cardilini series, set in 1960s Western Australia.

9 December 2018

What I read in November 2018

A fairly light reading month mainly because of a couple of longish reads
The stand out was THE LOST MAN by Jane Harper
See what others have read

review: THE MURDER WALL, Mari Hannah

  • this large print edition published by AudioGo through PanMacmillan 2012
  • ISBN 978-1-4458-9299-3
  • 415 pages
  • source: my local library
  • #1 in the Kate Daniels series
Synopsis

Eleven months after discovering a brutal double murder in a sleepy Northumbrian town, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels is still haunted by her failure to solve the case.

Then the brutal killing of a man on Newcastle's Quayside gives Daniels another chance to get it right, and her first case as Senior Investigating Officer.

When Daniels recognises the corpse, but fails to disclose the fact, her personal life swerves dangerously into her professional life.
 But much worse, she is now being watched.

As Daniels steps closer to finding a killer, a killer is only a breath away from claiming his next victim...

My Take

Being appointed as SIO on this murder case gives DCI Kate Daniels an opportunity to give her reputation a boost after her failure to solve a double murder case from 11 months earlier. But her boss seems very reluctant to let her loose, besides which he has problems of his own.

In addition Kate recognises the victim and should report that it, but she is afraid that will take her off the case. As time goes on more murders occur and it seems there must be a connection and the team desperately searches for it.

The reader is made privy to the mind of the murderer so we work desperately too to discover his identity.

A police procedural with a few twists.

My rating: 4.4

About the author
Mari Hannah, author of the Kate Daniels series and the Matthew Ryan series, has won the CWA 2017 Dagger in the Library.

Mari was declared the winner at a reception at the British Library on Saturday 17 June by Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA. Martin said:
At a time when the CWA is expanding its support for public and independent libraries, I am delighted to congratulate Mari. Her DCI Kate Daniels books, set in the North East, are tremendously popular and we know they’re eagerly devoured by library goers and book groups. 

Series
DCI Kate Daniels
1. The Murder Wall (2012)
2. Settled Blood (2012)
3. Deadly Deceit (2013)
4. Monument to Murder (2013)
     aka Fatal Games
5. Killing For Keeps (2014)
6. Gallows Drop (2016)

Matthew Ryan
1. The Silent Room (2015)
2. The Death Messenger (2017)

Stone and Oliver
1. The Lost (2018)
2. The Insider (2018)
3. The Scandal (2019)

2 December 2018

Review: THE HONOURABLE THIEF, Meaghan Wilson Anastasios

Synopsis (publisher)

'Achilles? Because...?'
'Obsession of mine. Half man, half god - and his own worst enemy.

My kind of man.' He laughed.

Istanbul, Turkey 1955

Benedict Hitchens, once a world-renowned archaeologist, is now a discredited - but still rather charming - shell of his former self.

Once full of optimism and adventure, his determination to prove that Achilles was a real historical figure led him to his greatest love, Karina, on the island of Crete and to his greatest downfall, following the disappearance of an enigmatic stranger, Eris.

He has one last chance to restore his reputation, solve the mystery of Eris and prove his Achilles theory. But it is full of risk, and possibly fatal consequences...

In her breakout novel, Meaghan Wilson Anastasios weaves an action-packed tale of honour, passion, heroes and thieves across an epic backdrop of history.

My Take

The structure of this novel turns it into demanding reading. It chops backwards and forwards across multiple time frames, designed to show the reader how Benedict Hitchens is brought low, but in actual fact disrupting the flow of the story. The time frames bring with them a number of plot strands with issues that did not always resolve.

The final chapters of the novel read like an episode from an Indiana Jones movie and for me did not sit comfortably with the Benedict Hitchens I met in the first part of the novel. And then the final element of where Achilles' shield ends up is just pure foolishness.

My rating: 3.5

About the author
Meaghan Wilson Anastasios spent her formative years in Melbourne before travelling and working as an archaeologist in the Mediterranean and Middle East. She holds a PhD in art history and cultural economics, has been a lecturer at the University of Melbourne and was a fine art auctioneer. Meaghan now uses her expertise to write and research for film and TV. She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband and their two children. The Water Diviner was her first novel, which she co-wrote with her husband Andrew. The Honourable Thief is her first solo novel.

Review: MONK'S-HOOD, Ellis Peters - audio book

  • source: audible.com
  •  Narrated by: Stephen Thorne
  • Series: Brother Cadfael, Book 3
  • Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 12-01-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
  • Book originally published 1980
Synopsis (audible.com)

Gervase Bonel, with his wife and servants, is a guest of Shrewsbury Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul when he is suddenly taken ill. Luckily, the Abbey boasts the services of clever and kindly Brother Cadfael, a skilled herbalist. Cadfael hurries to the man's bedside, only to be confronted by two very different surprises.

In Master Bonel's wife, the good monk recognises Richildis, whom he loved many years ago before he took his vows. And Master Bonel has been fatally poisoned by a dose of deadly monk's-hood oil from Cadfael's herbarium. The Sheriff is convinced that the murderer is Richildis' son Edwin, who had reasons aplenty to hate his stepfather. But Cadfael, guided in part by his tender concern for a woman to whom he was once betrothed, is certain of her son's innocence. Using his knowledge of both herbs and the human heart, Cadfael deciphers a deadly recipe for murder.... 

My Take

Another excellent narration by Stephen Thorne who brings Cadfael to life. Unfortunately it appears that he has only narrated three of the Cadfael series, so this is the last.

A little more of Cadfael's past is revealed and there is a lovely assessment of the impact of the civil war on the Abbey as Father Heribert goes off to find out whether he will keep his position or whether Prior Robert will take over.

Cadfael discovers who was responsible for the poisoning of Gervase Bonel and eventually administers his own form of justice.

What an excellent writer Ellis Peters was, bringing this periods of English history to life.

My rating: 4.6

I've also reviewed
THE PILGRIM OF HATE
4.3, A MORBID TASTE FOR BONES
4.6, A CORPSE TOO MANY

1 December 2018

PICK OF THE MONTH, November 2018

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month 2018
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 November 2018, 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.


27 November 2018

Review: THE STORM SISTER, Lucinda Riley

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 2225 KB
  • Print Length: 513 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1476759928
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market edition (November 1, 2015)
  • Publication Date: October 27, 2015
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B014CQGCV8
  • series: THE SEVEN SISTERS, #2
Synopsis (Amazon)

Ally D'Apli├Ęse is about to compete in one of the world's most perilous yacht races, when she hears the news of her adoptive father's sudden, mysterious death. Rushing back to meet her five sisters at their family home, she discovers that her father - an elusive billionaire affectionately known to his daughters as Pa Salt - has left each of them a tantalising clue to their true heritage.

Ally has also recently embarked on a deeply passionate love affair that will change her destiny forever. But with her life now turned upside down, Ally decides to leave the open seas and follow the trail that her father left her, which leads her to the icy beauty of Norway . . .

There, Ally begins to discover her roots - and how her story is inextricably bound to that of a young unknown singer, Anna Landvik, who lived there over a hundred years before, and sang in the first performance of Grieg's iconic music set to Ibsen's play 'Peer Gynt'. As Ally learns more about Anna, she also begins to question who her father, Pa Salt, really was. And why is the seventh sister missing?

My Take

The format of this story is pretty predictable.
Ally is the second of the Seven Sisters to take on the challenge of discovering their birth place and heritage, a challenge left by their deceased adoptive father Pa Salt. He left each of them a letter, and the coordinates of the geographical location where they could start. In Ally's case he left her also a book to read and a little green frog.

At first Ally has no intention of following the clues through, but her circumstances change and she feels the need to know who she is.

The fact that I knew that the plot was to be Ally's present-day story and an investigation of her past, with all the mystery that contained, did not deter me. I have given it the label of "not crime fiction", but there is certainly plenty of mystery and a touch of romance.

I must confess that I first of all borrowed the book from my local library but then, daunted by the size, I bought it for my kindle.

But I'm now hooked. I want to read the next one, THE SHADOW SISTER, and I've bought it for my kindle. 

My rating: 4.5

I've also read
4.5, THE SEVEN SISTERS

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