Some time since I posted about what I have been reading. Years probably, so this post is a brief overview of some of the highlights from last year. Despite regularly New Year resolutions to broaden my reading, I always end up mainly reading crime novels. As well as exciting reads, good crime novels offer an insight into the social situation in wherever and whenever they are set. So first up are highlights from my crime reading. I start with new authors.
Jane Harper is an Australian writer and last year I read her first two novels. Both feature Federal Agent Aaron Falk. The Dry is set as the title suggests in the parched outback of Victoria state, while the second, Force of Nature is set in a rainy, thickly forested part of the state. Both are very good and the natural surroundings play an important part in the novels. The Dry definitely edges it for me. You can almost feel the heat and the drought. Jane Harper has now published a third novel, The Lost Man, this one set in rural Queensland, with different lead characters.
Cal Moriarty is an English writer. The Killing of Bobbi Lomax is her first novel. It is set in the early 1980s, somewhere in the south west of the USA. The novel is not just about solving a murder, but explores the going-ons within the mysterious religious group The Faith, which dominates the region. Excellent and unusual story telling. The Killing of Bobbi Lomax is the first of a quartet of novels with the overarching title of Wonderland.
Jacqueline Winspear is an English author who has written an impressive 14 novels in her Maisie Dobbs series. Somehow I managed to read seven of them last year. I read numbers 11, 12 and 13 first and was sufficiently impressed to go back to the beginning. I have now read the first four in the series. Maisie Dodds is a private detective at a time when very few private detectives would have been women. Her first novel, Maisie Dobbs, starts in 1929 with her very first case. However her researches take her back to her childhood and to her work as a nurse in the First World War. This is a recurrent theme in these early novels. Though a murder has to be solved the cases all turn around something to do with the war and its aftermath. The more recent ones take us up to the late 1930s and are more about spying in the lead up to the start of the Second World War.
Finally an unexpected and very pleasant surprise. A new detective series set in Dundee, where I live. Great to read about places you know. Hania Allen is the author of this new series and the first novel is The Polish Detective. The title is not altogether surprising as Hania Allen’s parents are both Polish. Though she was born in Liverpool Hania lives in Fife and has lived in Scotland for most of her life. The Polish detective is DI Dania Gorska, who now works for Police Scotland in Dundee. She is plunged into the mystery of a series of brutal murders and the equally mysterious disappearance of two teenage girls. Looking forward to more of this series.