27.8.16

LAMENTATION, by C. J. Sansom

6/series starring Tudor-eras lawyer Matthew Shardlake, who this time in in really deep. Queen Catherine Parr asks Matthew to find a dangerously provocative manuscript that's gone missing. A religious tract by the queen herself, in the atmosphere of the court her enemies could use it to turn Henry against her. A printer is murdered, and a fragment of the manuscript is found in his hand. The dead man was possibly an Anabaptist, a sect believing in commonly-held property that Henry loathes and fears. When an old adversary of Matthew's lies dying, instead of reconciliation, the man wonders what will happen to Matthew now. Before he can learn more, the man is gone. Click below for more...

19.8.16

BODY LINE, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

13/series with London Detective Inspector Bill Slider. If you ever yearn to binge on a series of ferociously well-written English police mysteries, this is the author, and the series, for you. A perfect combination of grit, disaster, humor, pathos, grief and laugh-out-loud dialogue, you'll stay entranced through all twenty of the tales. And they are not re-hashes, each is unique, and the problems faced by Slider and his team, and in their personal lives as well, are presented flawlessly. Click below for more...

THE HARVEST MAN, by Alex Grecian

4/series starring Walter Day and Nevil Hammersmith of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad. Victorian England had its share of serial killers, but communication wasn't good enough for news to travel far. The killer known as The Harvest Man may have eluded the police, but he's set his sights on the Day family. Walter Day has troubles of his own: his wife's wealthy, hostile family has come to visit and taken over the household. Hammersmith, recklessly throwing himself into his work, was stabbed in the chest; his superior, fearing Hammersmith would merely get killed on the job, fired him. Walter Day, whose injured leg still troubles him, is confined to a desk job. Click below for more...

11.8.16

THE BLACK COUNTRY, by Alex Grecian

2/series, starring Walter Day and Nevil Hammersmith of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad. Set in a tottering, snowed-in coal town in western England, where a mother and father have vanished, leaving behind three children who are curiously unaffected by their loss. The searchers include a massive American whose presence is unclear, but who refuses to reveal why he stays. Stalking the search party is a mysterious marksman with American roots. The town, built atop the coal tunnels, sinks from time to time as supports give way. Click below for more...

HEARTSTONE, by C. J. Sansom

5/series set in Tudor England. Few people today realize that France nearly invaded England at this time, and well might have succeeded given the perilous state of the country, its bankrupt economy and sullen, resentful population. When lawyer Matthew Shardlake visits Bedlam for clients religiously-obsessed son (a burn at the stake offense). An inmate, Alice, appears "normal" but seems to be afraid to leave the building. Bedlam is expensive. What put her there and who pays for it?  As the vicious battle between religious factions swirls around Henry VIIIs court, the ailing, licentious king is pulled in various directions, but still pursues his ruinous, futile war with the French. Click below for more...

3.8.16

THE DEATH OF ACHILLES, by Boris Akunin

3/series, translated from the Russian. Returning to Russia after six years in Japan, the mesmerizing Erast Fandorin is at once thrust into high-level plots and counter-plots when the country's most celebrated general is found dead in his hotel suite. Once again, the mesmerizing sleuth finds murder where nobody else has. The general, Sobolev, known to the adoring masses as the White General, is also known to Fandorin (they had fought together in The Turkish Gambit, reviewed in another post on this blog). Immediately, Fandorin knows all is not as arranged. Click here for more...

KING MAYBE, by Timothy Hallinan

5/series starring LA burglar-for-life Junior Bender. Sent to burgle the home of a notorious hit man called The Slugger, Junior's promised window of opportunity is abruptly closed just as he lays fingers on the prize. It's a set-up. Bender, with typical chutzpah and a spectacular save by his girlfriend, escapes, but The Slugger and a like-minded sidekick are hot and heavy on his trail. Along with the chase, his ex-wife texts a change in his daughter's birthday party plans. Yet another set-up that could turn lethal! Click below for more no-spoiler review...