Reading Highlights – April 2016

Another good month for reading, but not quite as good as March. Down to a respectable seven books, including three audiobooks. Four crime novels and three general fiction. Only one was by an author new to me.

The House at Seas’ End, by Elly Griffiths – I am determinedly working my way through Griffiths’ series featuring archaeologist and part time consultant to the local police, Ruth Galloway. I am reading them all out of order, but what the hell. This is the third in the series and Ruth is now a single mum. Six bodies have just been uncovered at the foot of a cliff and Ruth is once again called upon for help in unravelling a mystery that goes all the way back to the second world war.

A Room full of bones, by Elly Griffiths – this is the fourth in this series and begins with a macabre murder in the Smith Museum in King’s Lynn. Just before the public unveiling of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop, the museum’s curator is found murdered. Found by Ruth Galloway herself. So it is no surprise that she becomes a key part of the investigating team. Looks like some dark forces are alive in Norfolk.

A God in ruins, by Kate Atkinson – this is Atkinson’s follow-up to the highly successful Life after Life. Here the hero is Teddy, the younger sister of Ursula Todd, the heroine of Life after Life. Like that novel, A God in ruins is no straightforward narrative. Though each chapter is supposedly about a particular year, the characters are either reminiscing about earlier periods, or Atkinson moves us forward into the future. Not really unsettling, this device works quite well. This was almost a wonderful novel for me, but for the ending. I won’t spoil it for anyone who has not yet read the novel, but the ending did not work for me.

The Red road, by Denis Mina – the fourth of Mina’s novels to feature Glasgow detective Alex Morrow. This time she is called upon to solve an apparently unrelated series of murders. The novel could easily be subtitled the good, the bad and the really bad, though there seems to be more of the really bad than anything much good. It all starts in 1997 with two murders by a young sexually abused girl.  Now in 2012, new murders and disappearances somehow link back to those involved in the 1997 murders. But who and how and why? Hard work ahead for Alex and her team.

The first thing you see, by Grégoire Delacourt – my first encounter with this French writer, and an intriguing and witty kind of romance. Arthur Dreyfuss is a young mechanic in a rural French village who lives a quiet simple life. One day on opening his door, the first thing he sees is Scarlett Johansson. But of course it is not the real Scarlett Johansson, but her look-a-like. Jeanine Foucamprez is the real person who knocks on Arthur’s door. Fed up of being googled at on account of her body and similarity to Scarlett, Jeanine longs for a simple life, and has chosen Arthur as her potential soul mate. Will it work?

The Ice child, by Camilla Läckberg – this is the latest of Läckberg’s series set in Fjällbacka, the apparently idyllic seaside town south of Gothenburg. The duo of writer Erica Falck and detective Patrick Hedstrom are once again called upon to investigate more brutal murders, this time of young girls. Erica of course is not supposed to get involved at all, but part of the charm of this series is the ways in which she advertently or inadvertently manages to worm her way into helping or sometimes hindering the investigations. Chilling stuff.

Father Fludd, by Hilary Mantel – this is an early novel, more a novella, by Mantel. The focus for the loose narrative is the Roman Catholic church of the mid 1950s in northern industrial small town England. A pretty unenlightened time and place. Into this very closed world comes Father Fludd, the new curate. He manages to unsettle just about everyone in the parish. But who exactly is Father Fludd? A fine and entertaining exploration of trials and tribulations facing the Catholic church in pre-Vatican 2 times.




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