Thursday, 10 January 2019

New Books and My Ongoing Look at the Mystery Genre - English Detectives Part 2

My brother will laugh at me because late last year I said one of my New Year's promises for 2019 was to not buy so many books. Well, on the 5th when I was heading down to Nanaimo to get Bonnie from the vet, I stopped at the Bookcase and picked up 4 books (Having said that I only go their once or maybe twice a year....)

Today after my haircut I stopped at our local used book store, Nearly New Books. I wanted to see if they might have any books by M.R. Hall. On Monday, Jo and I watched the first episode of Coroner on CBC. It's based on a series of books by Hall, set in the UK. The TV series is set in Toronto. So anyway, they did have one book, the 3rd in the series and I also bought one other. I'm also going to continue with my alphabetical look at British detectives. Yesterday I featured Jackson brodie, Agatha Raisin and Philip Trent. So let's go now.

New Books

1. M.R. Hall - The Redeemed (Jenny Cooper #3).

"Coroner Jenny Cooper investigates in the third stunning novel in M.R. Hall's crime series.

A mystery from the past. A deadly secret in the present.

The body of a dead man is discovered in an overgrown cemetery in Bristol, the sign of the cross gouged into his flesh. At first it seems to coroner Jenny Cooper that all the evidence points to a horrific, if routine, suicide.

Then an enigmatic young priest, Father Lucas Starr, arrives on Jenny’s doorstep, entreating her to hold an inquest into the death of Eva Donaldson, a high profile political campaigner whose past life continued to haunt her. A young man, Paul Craven, has recently been sentenced for Eva’s brutal murder. But despite Craven’s conviction and the evidence against him, Father Lucas is convinced of the man’s innocence.

Jenny’s lone quest for justice will take her to the dark heart of an establishment who wish to silence her, and on an inner journey to confront ghosts that have haunted her for a lifetime. For Jenny Cooper answers to no one but the dead."

2. Steve Hamilton - Blood is the Sky (Alex McKnight #5).

"Alex McKnight isn't a man with many friends, but the few he has know they're never alone in a fix. So when Vinnie LeBlanc asks for his help in taking a trip deep into Canada in search of his missing brother, he knows he can count on Alex. His brother had taken a job as a hunting guide for a rough crew of Detroit "businessmen." The group was due back days ago, yet there's been no sign of them, and there's mounting evidence of something odd about their disappearing act. The trackless forests of northern Ontario keep many secrets, but none more shocking than the one that Alex is about to uncover. And the more closely Alex looks for answers, the more questions there become."

Bill's Ongoing Look at the Mystery Genre - British detectives Part 2

Anthony Berkeley Cox
1.  Anthony Berkeley Cox - Roger Sheringham. Cox lived from 1893 - 1971. He wrote eleven novels in the Roger Sheringham series, of which I've read one so far. Sheringham was an upper crust amateur detective. Cox also wrote under other names. I've read one of his books under the name of Francis Iles as well.

a. The Poisoned Chocolates Case (Roger Sheringham #5).

"Reissue of one of the great puzzle mystery classics of England's Golden Age of crime fiction; plot involves a group of upper-crust amateur sleuths who set out to solve a murder that has baffled Scotland Yard; catnip for fans of Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham"

The other books that featured Roger Sheringham are - 
- The Layton Court Mystery (1925)
- The Wychford Poisoning Case (1926)
- Roger Sheringham and the Vane Mystery (1927)
- The Silk Stocking Murders (1928)
- The Second Shot (1930)
- Top Storey Murder (1931)
- Murder in the Basement (1932)
- Jumping Jenny (1933)
- Panic Party (1934)
- The Roger Sheringham Stories (1994)

It's been about 7 or 8 years since I read one of Cox's books. I'll have to try and find some more of this series.

Nicholas Blake (Cecil Day - Lewis0
2. Nicholas Blake - Nigel Strangeways. Nicholas Blake was the pseudonym for British poet - laureate Cecil Day-Lewis (1904 - 1972), also father of actors Daniel and documentary film maker, Tamasin. He wrote mysteries under the name of Blake and wrote a number featuring amateur investigator and gentleman detective, nephew of an Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard. I've read two of Blake's mysteries, one a standalone and one featuring Strangeways. I've another awaiting my attention on my bookshelf. Blake wrote 16 books featuring Strangeways from 1935 - 1966.

a. The Widow's Cruise (Strangeways #13) - 

"“The only thing I have against cruise life,” said Clare, yawning again, “is that it’s turning us all into busybodies and gossips.”

Renowned sculptor, Clare Massinger, is in a bit of a creative slump. To provide a little inspiration, Nigel Strangeways books them a relaxing cruise on the Aegean Sea. Filled with Greek temples, swimming pools, and sandy beaches, this scenic vacation should be the perfect getaway. But when they meet the other passengers, Nigel and Clare realize the cruise may not be as peaceful as planned.

It seems everyone knows everyone else’s business: a schoolteacher recovering from a nervous breakdown is confronted by a former student; a scholar is embarrassed by a scornful reviewer; a seductive temptress is known to a Bishop, and, to top it off, two busybodies are keeping tabs on everyone.

As the passengers’ lives become increasingly intertwined, it seems a plot for revenge may be afloat. Amidst steamy assignations, false accusations, and suicide threats, Nigel’s holiday doesn’t last long, and he must take charge to uncover the truth before the passengers have something more disturbing to gossip about…" I only gave this 2 stars, but when I read another Blake mystery, A Tangled Web, I gave that 4 stars. I have another Strangeways mystery on my bookshelf. When I read that, I'll determine whether I wish to read anymore in this series.

b. Head of a Traveler (Strangeways #9).

"Upon stopping by Plash Meadows to visit revered poet Robert Seaton, Nigel Strangeways is absolutely enamored: like something out of a fairy tale, a perfect Queen Anne house stands among sprawling lawns as smooth as green glass, and whimsical gardens overflowing with roses. And not so far off, a dark and winding wood…

While visiting with the Seatons, Nigel gets more than he bargained for. He learns about the contentious legacy of the family estate, stumbles upon a secret meeting, and at lunch, when table talk turns to murder and motive, Nigel leaves feeling a little uneasy…

Two months later, Nigel is summoned back to the Seatons in less pleasant circumstances. A headless corpse has been pulled from the river behind the house and no one can identify the victim… let alone the murderer.

As oppressive thunderstorms roll through the countryside and the mood in the house takes a turn, Nigel has only one lead, but it’s throwing up more questions than it answers. The corpse bears a striking resemblance to Robert Seaton’s long-missing brother… but he walked into the ocean ten years prior, never to be heard from again.

Bewitched by poet and property, will Nigel be able to put his admiration aside and get to the bottom of this case?

The complete series consists of the books found at this link

Kyril Bonfiglioli
3. Kyril Bonfiglioli - Charlie Mortdecai. Bonfiglioli lived from 1928 - 1985 and was an English art dealer, magazine editor and comic novelist. He wrote 4 books in his Charlie Mortdecai (one was published posthumously) series and they have all achieved cult status. Mortdecai is an art dealer, the anti-hero of the series. I've read one book in the series so far and have two more awaiting my attention.

a. Don't Point That Thing at Me (1972).

"Portly art dealer and seasoned epicurean Charlie Mortdecai comes into possession of a stolen Goya, the disappearance of which is causing a diplomatic ruction between Spain and its allies. Not that that matters to Charlie ... until compromising pictures of some British diplomats also come into his possession and start to muddy the waters. All he's trying to do is make a dishonest living, but various governments, secret organizations and an unbelievably nubile young German don't see it that way and pretty soon he's in great need of his thuggish manservant Jock to keep them all at bay ... and the Goya safe." I gave this 3 stars.

b. After You With the Pistol (1979).

"Cult classics in the UK since their first publication there in the 1970s, Kyril Bonfiglioli's wickedly fun mysteries featuring the Honorable Charlie Mortdecai—degenerate aristocrat, amoral art dealer, seasoned epicurean, unwilling assassin, and general knave-about-Picadilly—are favorites of Stephen Fry and Julian Barnes, among others. Charlie's back in After You With the Pistol, along with his new bride, Joanna, and his thuggish manservant, Jock. He’'s also still drinking too much whiskey—and anything else he can get his hands on—which makes it all the more difficult to figure out what the beautiful and fabulously wealthy Joanna is up to when she tries to convince Charlie to kill the Queen. Suffice it to say, Joanna is not quite what she seems. Don't miss this brilliant mixture of comedy, crime, and suspense."

c. Something Nasty in the Woodshed (1976).

"Life always seems to be more complicated than it should be for Charlie Mortdecai: degenerate aristocrat, amoral art dealer, seasoned epicurean, unwilling assassin, and confirmed coward.
Something Nasty in the Woodshed finds Charlie exiled from London due to his growing unpopularity on account of some shady art deals. Taking refuge in a country estate on the Channel Island of Jersey, he embarks on a well-intended hedonistic interlude. But his vacation soon morphs into a macabre manhunt, as Charlie seeks to expose a local rapist whose modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to that of a warlock from ancient British mythology known as 'The Beast of Jersey.'"

The remaining book is The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery which was published in 1999.

Well, the weekend is almost upon us. Maybe some of these books might interest you. Take care.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails