30 January 2008

Lotsa Bones

Yesterday we had body parts. Today I've scoured my recent database entries for skeletons.
There are some treats among these books, and some of my favourite authors.

ENTOMBED by Linda Fairstein
Workers demolishing a nineteenth-century brownstone where Edgar Allan Poe once lived discover a human skeleton entombed -- standing -- behind a brick wall. When sex crimes prosecutor Alexandra Cooper hears about the case, it strikes her as a classic Poe scene...except that forensic evidence shows that this young woman died within the last twenty-five years. Meanwhile, Alex's old nemesis the Silk Stocking Rapist is once again terrorizing Manhattan's Upper East Side. The attacks soon escalate to murder, and the search leads Alex and detectives Mercer Wallace and Mike Chapman to the city's stunning Bronx Botanical Gardens. There, an enigmatic librarian presides over the Raven Society, a group devoted to the work of Poe.
This was an engrossing read. There's a lot of detail about Poe (and who knows if it is correct) but certainly we have all read some Poe at some time. I can believe too the claim made in the book that Poe was the originator of the detective novel. . There were parts of the novel which were very Poe-ish in their macabre-ness and suspense. At the same time it moves at a smart pace and there are lots of little weblike links binding it all together.
I didn't find this as dark as some of the earlier Fairstein's that I have read. There's some interesting comments too on how modern technology that can help track a culprit down - DNA of course, but Metro transport tickets??
My rating: 5.0

The Tradmouth area of Devonshire is the location this Kate Ellis’ police procedural in which Wesley Peterson, a young black detective plays a prominent role. Wesley and his superior, Inspector Gerry Heffernan, had both chosen a rural setting in which to pursue their law enforcement careers, thinking criminal activity would be considerably less than in London. However, of late, things are anything but peaceful on their turf. A rash of burglaries targeting isolated farms in the district, the disappearance of a young Danish tourist, and the discovery of a skeleton who had met his death apparently violently are keeping Heffernan and his staff busy round the clock.
My rating: 4.5

BREAK NO BONES by Kathy Reichs
Dr Temperance Brennan is filling a vacancy as a supervisor of an archaeology dig for students from the University of North Carolina. The dig site on Dewees Island on contains sixteen prehistoric graves, a pre-Colombian burial ground. Dewees Island is largely a conservation easement, but the rest is ripe for development. On the penultimate day of the dig, just when they are well on the way to wrapping everything up on schedule, Tempe has a couple of visitors: local freelance journalist Homer Winborne, and Dickie Dupree, land developer and entrepreneur. As if on cue, an intrusive articulated skeleton is discovered in one of the graves. Tempe quickly realises that this body is not prehistoric.
My rating: 4.3

SPIDER TRAP by Barry Maitland
Spider Roach, his very name a combination of the insect pests that we all hate, is the perfect illustration of the adage that evil breeds evil. Back in the 1980s he controlled the hotbed of gangster land around Cockpit Lane. Now an old man, 20 years on he still controls it - his 3 sons are evil and always have been, and they seem to have married and begotten evil too. Brock had dealings with Roach back in the 1980s and he emerges from retirement in SPIDER TRAP to warn Brock off from his current investigation into the spider's web of evil he has built up over the decades. Two young girls have been found shot dead in Cockpit Lane, a boy is electrocuted as he tries to cross the electrified rail line to get to the nearby waste land where "brown bread" is rumoured to be hidden, and then the police begin to dig up 20 year old skeletons buried in the waste ground. #10 in the Brock and Kolla series
My rating: 4.7

MURDER IN THE MUSEUM - A Fethering Mystery by Simon Brett
Bracketts, once the home of poet Esmund Chadleigh, is an Elizabethan house, now a museum devoted to the remembrance of Chadleigh. Carole Seddon, retired public servant, becomes a trustee on the board of Bracketts, but board meetings are complicated by the discovery of a skeleton in the kitchen garden. Carole and her neighbour Jude become involved when there is a shooting in the house car park. Obviously Bracketts has secrets some one is keen to keep hidden. I am an addict of Simon Brett's writing.
My rating: 4.5

SILENCE OF THE GRAVE by Arnaldur Indridason
Building work on the outskirts of Reykajavik (Iceland) uncovers a body possibly buried alive during World War Two. Erlendur and his team are called in to investigate and try to uncover the truth while a team of archaeologists slowly and painstaking exhume the skeleton. Those who still live in the area tell of a young pregnant woman who disappeared in the war, but is it her? An elderly dying man talks of the green woman who was crooked. At the same time Erlendur is re-living his past - his daughter Eva Lind lies in a coma in the local hospital after a miscarriage and an old woman asks him why he is carrying a young boy around with him. The construction of this novel is intricate and it is almost impossible to solve the mysteries until the very end. Indridason draws into it a fascinating local legend about an orgy at the local gasworks on the night Halley's comet nearly struck the earth in 1910. Translated into English from Icelandic in 2005.
My rating: 5

THE DRAINING LAKE by Arnaldur Indridason
After an earth tremor, the water level in an Icelandic lake begins to drop as water drains out through fissures in the lakes bed. Eventually it drops low enough to reveal the skeleton of a murder victim, probably there for a number of years and anchored to a piece of Russian radio equipment. The search for the identity of this person is a fairly lengthy and tedious process but murders and missing persons are pretty rare in Iceland where everybody knows everybody. Woven into the murder investigation is the story of idealistic young Icelandic socialists, party members chosen to be educated at university in Leipzig in East Germany, and then also more about Erlendur's own family and his children who flit in and out of his life. Originally published in Icelandic in 2004, the 4th of Indridason's books to be translated into English.
My rating: 4.7

THE BONE GARDEN by Tess Gerritsen
Maura Isles, Boston medical examiner, tells Julia Hamill that the skeleton she has dug up in her back garden is old, much older than the house that she has recently purchased. The skeleton is that of a female under 35 years, buried perhaps more than 150 ago, and murdered. Julia is recently divorced and had been labouring to convert the barren back yard into a garden when her shovel struck a skull. Now her backyard is an excavation site for the medical examiner’s office.
For most of the book, which jumps, sometimes a little jarringly, backwards and forwards between the 1830s and the present day, we are following an ancestor of the last owner of the house, the person's whose estate Julia bought the house from. We do this both through reading about events as they happen, and through papers and letters hoarded by the previous occupant Hilda Chamblet
My rating: 4.6


Anonymous said...

I've stopped reading Kathy Reichs, Tess Gerritsen and Linda Fairstein now...I don't think their genre is quite suited to me. (Similarly, I liked the first few Patricia Cornwells and then stopped). My favourite of that ilk is Karin Slaughter.

However, I adore those Arnaldur Indridason's. I enjoyed the Draining Lake more than Silence of the Grave, but there wasn't much in it. Have you read Voices, which comes in between these two titles?

Kerrie said...

VOICES is a great read Maxine. Well worth looking for

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree, Voices is great.
I also read a Kate Ellis book (have just noticed you have one in your list). I don't recall the title, but my review is on Euro Crime. That definitely featured bones -- very ancient ones!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin