Six books read so far this week. 3 were for book clubs, The Redbreast, Buried Crimes and The Beekeeper.
The Redbreast is book 3 in the Harry Hole series. It is a well known, popular and award winning piece of crime fiction. It was selected by my IRL book club to represent Nordic Noir. I don’t usually like skipping to the third book in the series, so I did read The Bat earlier in preparation for this. (I didn’t like that book really either so I did skip book 2) I really did not like this and only one other person in the book club persevered and finished. Everyone else quit, some relatively early on (first 100 pages). The storyline is convoluted and time switching is rampant. Characters are introduced willy nilly all over, with name changes. There is a pretty eyebrow raising coincidence involving a female police officer and the cases they are working on. Harry Hole is your typical alcoholic with issues police detective. The book spends a great deal time on the historical (WWII) piece and it bored me to tears. The resolution is tied up by a series of diary entries basically retelling the book and it is over 500 pages long…
Buried Crimes and The Beekeeper are this month’s reads over at the Kindle English Mystery Club on Goodreads. Buried Crimes was quite good. It involves a somewhat cold case, bodies are discovered buried in a garden and they had been there for quite a while. The crime centers around two children who slip through the safety net and no one knows what happened until their bodies are found in the garden of Finch Cottage. There is quite a bit going on in here as the case is investigated and connected crimes are discovered. The characters are not always what they seem and DCI Sophie Allen is a competent and sympathetic investigator.
The Beekeeper was another read for the English Kindle Mystery Club. I think the characters were interesting and somewhat quirky. I just felt that it was blatantly obvious about who was doing the killing and even pretty much why. It was so obvious I thought it had to be a red herring and kept reading expecting the outcome to have a twist, but no, it was just that obvious.
Missing Pieces is my second book by Heather Gudenkauf. I recently read Not a Sound and enjoyed it. That is why I picked this one up. Sarah and her husband return to his home town because an elderly relative is seriously injured. Once they are there, Sarah discovers that her husband has a whole mess of secrets. Everything Sarah thought she knew about him was not true. Sarah starts receiving messages from the killer and decides to try to uncover the truth and figure out who she is married to. Well written mystery. I preferred Not a Sound, but this was good as well.
Guiltless has been on my kindle for a while and I finally decided to read it. The story follows two plotlines, present with Nora and Henrik and their impending divorce, and past, with Thorwald and Kristina and their childhood. This is really a story of “the crimes of the father being visited upon the sons”. Nora discovers a body in the modern setting and in the course of the investigation links to the past point to the motive. This was at times a very creepy thriller. The pacing was good and both storylines were equally compelling. Recommend for Nordic and domestic Noir fans.
Marrying the Mistress by Joanna Trollope is about divorce and the ripples of devastation that it can cause in a family. My daughter came in while I was reading this and asked what was the matter. I told her the plot to the book and so she just said, “So, you’re rage reading.” That about sums it up.
Guy (60s) is married to Laura (60s) and has been for 40 years. For the last 7 he has been carrying on an extensive affair with Merrion (31…younger than Guy and Laura’s kids), now he has decided to divorce Laura and ride off into the sunset with his child bride. Laura is written is such way to ridicule her and her plight, the plight of many 60+ year old women who are dumped after many years of marriage and family. Laura’s kids make nice with Guy and Merrion basically being completely disloyal to her. Her son, Alan, in particular is glib and has a completely patronizing attitude (someone needed to take him out behind the woodshed and tan his behind). The only other older female character is Gwen, Merrion’s mother, who is horrified by what Merrion is doing and she is also treated with dismissal. The characters and the book totally ignore that as a 60+ woman, who has been a stay at home mum for basically her whole life allowing her husband to advance his career significantly, the outlook for her in divorce is bleak. One of the characters actually suggests Laura go off and do a pottery class….what?!? How patronizing?
Anyway- that is my rant over, I could keep going but I’m sure you get the idea. On the plus side no one writes the details of domestic life like Joanna Trollope. She does this beautifully and in such a way to make them utterly absorbing, but without any sappy sentimentality.