I don't know about you but in the summer I don't cook much, nor do I read What I Call serious reading. Too hot to cook, well sometimes, and also difficult to concentrate when the sun is shining. I like something light to eat and steak and kidney pie loses its savour. Ditto books. Not saying that when the nights are cold I am suddenly going to work my way through the Booker list or start reading Gogol but I do tend to hunker down with books that need concentration.
And looking at my reading over the last few weeks I have been reading loads of detective stories. Re-reading the Zouroudi books set in Greece which I love and then in the last week have had three of my favourite detective series come up with the latest.
Linda Castillo-The Dead will Tell. The latest in the series featuring Kate Burkholder, chief of police in Painters Mill in Amish country. Love these books. They are well written with great story lines and there has not been a dud one amongst them. If I have one criticism it is to say that for a peace loving people, the Amish do seem to have a lot of murder and mayhem going on. It stretches credulity a tad but then I think of Midsomer Murders and the body count in that series and realise that nothing reaches the level of death and destruction there.
OK so everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. A terrible murder and fire took place there over thirty years ago and when Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide of an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn she realises that his death is a murder and a murder done particularly cruelly with the maximum amount of suffering. When a second man is found dead, also seemingly by his own hand, Kate discovers that, in common with the first murder, there is a link to the old case. And there seem to be more on the killer's list....
If you have yet to discover this series then I really recommend them. But do read them in order as there is a narrative thread dealing with Kate's personal life that runs through them all.
Want you Dead - Peter James. The latest in the Roy Grace series set in Brighton.
Single girl, 29, smouldering redhead, love life that's crashed and burned. Seeks new flame to rekindle her fire. Fun, friendship and – who knows – maybe more?
An ad placed on a dating website leads Red Westwood to meet charming and rich Bryce Laurent. He is handsome and madly in love with her, showering her with gifts and presents. When his past and his lies are revealed to her she breaks up with him and evicts him from her flat. But he is obsessed with her and he intends to destroy her, her life and her family. There seems to be no escape.
Roy Grace finds that Bryce Laurent is cunning and ruthless with a string of aliases and difficult to find. While he is dealing with this case he is also arranging his marriage to Cleo and having nightmares that his missing wife Sandy will turn up at his wedding and ruin his future.
There have been a few adverse reviews regarding this latest Grace book so I was not sure what to expect when I started it but found I became totally immersed and engaged, reading it straight through in one sitting. If I do have a criticism it is that a car accident removed an unpleasant character in the last book and the same happens in this one. Very helpful but it certainly opens up a new story line which will no doubt be explored in the next one in the series. I look forward to it.
Abbatoir Blues - Peter Robinson. The latest DCI Banks book and the first thing you have to remember when reading these is that the TV series has gone off on a totally different tack, the characterisation of Banks is also different and you have to put this out your mind, else you will get very muddled as to who does what and what is happening.
I found the last Banks book, The Children of the Revolution, very tedious and rather boring and pleased that this one is back to form. Initially investigating the theft of an extremely expensive tractor, the latest in a long line of rural crimes, it soon escalates when human blood is discovered in an abandoned hangar and it is clear a murder has taken place. Then a possible witness vanishes and goes on the run and it all starts to get very complicated.
There is one common factor in these books that really irritates after a while. The constant harping on about what music Banks is listening to, or any other character, given in detail. If someone is driving along and about to meet his death I am really not interested in knowing whether he is into rap or garage music, I really am not. And when Banks gets home and finds a CD in the post I don't really need to know it is a recording of lieder by Janet Baker. Peter Robinson does go on at length about this and I do wish somebody at his publishers would tell him to tone it down a bit.
But, apart from that, a return to form.
So three good tecs this week and I have a few more on the pile waiting to go....