Sunday, December 12, 2010
Three Very Good Mysteries
69. A Cotswold Killing - first in the Thea Osborne series
by Rebecca Tope
Kindle book - 14
70. Leave the Grave Green - third in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series
by Deborah Crombie
Kindle book - 15
71. Dive Deep and Deadly - first in the Luanne Fogarty series
by Glynn Marsh Alam
Kindle book - 16
One sunny Sunday November morning, I got an email from my dear internet friend, Carole telling me she was reading a book that I might like. I looked it up and bought the Kindle version for $5.44.
I've never read a mystery like A Cotswold Killing. It isn't a police procedural. There is an amateur who works on solving the mystery, but this isn't a light-hearted cozy sort of romp by any means. First off, the woman, Thea is a new widow. Her husband died suddenly in a car accident. She hurts herself to cope with the emotional pain. I had heard of young girls cutting themselves, but this is the first time I'd heard of adults doing such things. Thea meets another woman who puts stones in her shoes as she tries to cope with a lost, drug-addicted daughter. This wasn't a huge part of the book, but it is definitely a part of the main character. I wonder if she is able to let this go in later books.
Thea has accepted a house-sitting job. She hopes it will break her routine, and give her some new activities and perhaps new acquaintances. Well, I'll tell you, this woman is the house-sitter from you-know-where. I would hate to have her taking care of my house and animals. She chooses to not bother with many of the items the homeowner has listed for her to do.
A man comes to her door in a neighborly manner, and soon is found murdered near the house Thea is staying in. She feels a need to help find out what happened because of these two things. The reader learns that all the beauty of the Cotswolds comes with a price. The very rich are buying up the houses, and their jobs involve commuting. Hence, there is no village center, no gathering place for people to get to know one another.
This is a very good start to a series, and I hope to read more of Thea's house-sitting adventures, which I am sure will include local murders.
I am utterly enchanted with Deborah Crombie's books. As soon as I finish one, I order the next. My Kindle will be a DC library. Leave the Grave Green begins with the horror of a twelve-year old boy's drowning. That event has, as you would imagine, tainted and altered a whole family's life, and may connect to a present-day crime. The sister of the dead boy, who was with him when he drowned, has lost her estranged husband in the same manner. Is this an accident and a horrible coincidence, or is there foul play involved? One of the themes is a bit the same as in an Arnaldur Indridason book, Voices; that of parents giving more attention to a talented child, while the sibling takes a back seat. This is a situation that has repercussions that stretch far into the future. Excellent story and as in the first two books, Crombie's characters are so well-drawn.
Dive Deep and Deadly was a completely new subject and locale for me; that of diving into underwater caves in the swamp area of Florida. Not a place I could ever live with water mocassins and alligators galore, but it certainly makes for fun armchair traveling! Some boys discover a body, and Luanne Fogarty is asked by the police to go down and investigate. There are more deaths, of course. Her nearest neighbor on the swamp is an older man who was quite close to Luanne's mother in the past. I really, really enjoyed this book even while I winced at the swamp creatures. Luanne is a strong, independent woman who doesn't mind living all alone. She has come back to her childhood home and is doing it over. She'd like to just dive, but knows she must go back to her profession as a linguistics teacher to earn a living. The author's life is much like Luanne's which gives the book such a strong sense of place. Really excellent first book, and I want to read more. I don't think, however that I will buy another for the Kindle. This was really terribly done with words running together as one, poor punctuation, big spaces. I almost thought of writing to the author to let her know. As much as I enjoy my Kindle for the ease of bedtime reading, it will never, ever replace print books for me.