The Clutter Corpse is the first in a series by Simon Brett. I have read other series by him and enjoyed them, such as The Fethering and Mrs. Partgeter series. Although this may seem like a cozy mystery as many of his mystery books do, they really are commentary on social class and topical issues, so more of social satires that have mysteries for plots. In this series, the protagonist/sleuth is a widow who has a decluttering business that is one part doing the organizational labor and one part therapist as she works with a lot of hoarders and people suffering from other traumas. In the course of her business, Ellen comes across a body in a hoarders home and this sets off the case. Along with the murder investigation topics such as suicide, suicidal ideation, drug addiction, mental illness, and child neglect are raised, through the clients Ellen has and people in her personal life. There are some excellent twists and great writing to keep you reading a good pace through this short (under 200 pages) novel.
My Sister’s Grave is the first in a series by Robert Dugoni, a new-to-me author. Tracy’s sister disappeared some twenty five years ago, presumed murdered by Edmund House. He was out of prison where he served time for a brutal crime against another young woman. In the present day, Tracy is a homicide detective, who has never let go of her sister’s case. She gets a call that Sarah’s body was discovered and returns home. The discovery of the body is the impetus for Tracy to push even harder to reopen the case as she felt that the original investigation was flawed or even corrupt and that Sarah’s killer has never been caught. Tracy is a well drawn flawed lead character here. The reader is pulled into the story and roots for Tracy to get the resolution she needs. Well plotted and paced this was a good start to a new series.
Unto Us a Son is Given is actually book 28 in a series. I haven’t read any of the others, I have often seen Donna Leon books at my library but had no idea the series was this long running. Definitely a slow burner here, the murder doesn’t even occur until you are more than half way through the book. I enjoyed this but hesitate to comment because I really think that I didn’t appreciate it fully as I have missed out on so much of the character development over the course of the series. Commissario Brunetti has many connections and relationships throughout Venice and I think a new reader to the series at this juncture misses out on much of the subtext here. I would like to pick up the first couple in this series and see how Brunetti begins his journey.