Angelica's Smile - Andrea Camilleri. If you are a lover of these books then you do not need me to urge you to get hold of this one, you will already have it on your radar or may have already read it. I am totally in love with the inhabitants of the police station at Vigata and love Montalbano, with all his failings and yet knowledge of himself. This latest concerns a series of burglaries for which there seems no reason and it takes Salvo sometime to realise they are a blind, a cover up for something more personal. He has been distracted by the arrival of the beautiful Angelica with whom he is in thrall though he knows it is wrong and he is a fool.
Though these books are detective stories, the real interest for all of us who adore these books is the characters, Salvo, Augello, Fazio and the wonderful Catarella. I am so fond of them all that the story almost seems of secondary importance. At times I have felt that the author feels this way too but then I will come across a complicated or fiendish plot twist and realise that I am mistaken.
A joy as ever.
Top Secret Twenty-One - Janet Evanovich. As with the Camilleri books, these stories are character driven and the plot, or what passes for one, is immaterial. We all know Stephanie Plum by now, her side kick and ex-ho Lula with her outrageous clothes, Joe Morelli her policeman boyfriend and the one she secretly yearns for, Ranger, who I certainly would not kick out of bed in the mornings.
In this story Stephanie is chasing down Jimmy Poletti who has skipped bail and is leaving a trail of bodies behind him. She always arrives too late, her car gets blown up (again), her flat is torched (again) and somewhere along the line you know there will always be donuts, mayonnaise, cup cakes and fried chicken.
Total hoot. Loved it. Where is twenty-two?
Close Call - Stella Rimington. Another thriller featuring the head of MI5, Liz Carlyle. Have read all of these now and now enjoy them though I admit to being indifferent at first. We all know the author was the head of MI5 so can be sure that the spy craft and the details of how it conducts is business are authentic, though I do wonder at her being allowed to write these books I must say.
This latest is concerned with the task of watching the international arms trade and when MI5 learn that the source of a series of arms deals is located in Western Europe, off they go to investigate. Along the way Liz meets up with an ex lover from her past and it all starts to get a tad complicated.
As I have said of the two titles above, despite the plot and the car chases etc etc it is the characters within MI5 and the relationships between them, either personal or political, that are of interest. When you write a book and you are interested in the characters then you are home or dry. If you don't give a damn about what happens to them, then you are doomed.
A lot of fairly easy reading over the last few weeks as I find that I cannot concentrate on anything substantial or heavy when the sun is shining and the nights are lighter. Happens every year and the books I should be reading pile up and have to wait until the temperatures drop and the nights draw in.
I am also spending an awful lot of time at the moment watching cricket and tennis and as they were playing at Wimbers till nearly ten last night, you will understand that I have serious calls on my time......