It was fun. Written in the classic style of a British whodunnit with a semi-eccentric protagonist, Hamish Macbeth, and a puzzling mystery to solve.
InIt was fun. Written in the classic style of a British whodunnit with a semi-eccentric protagonist, Hamish Macbeth, and a puzzling mystery to solve.
In this case, a TV company comes to Macbeth's area and sets up to film "the Case of the Rising Tides" an out of print mystery written by the arrogant Patricia Martin-Broyd.
There are all kinds of problems involving nudity, jealousy, bad behavior on the part of the Scriptwriter, etc. Finally, someone is murdered and the Scotland Yard VIPs helicopter in from Strathbane pushing Hamish out of the picture. He, of course, continues to pursue the case out of curiosity, allowing Beaton to introduce us to a number of colorful local characters.
As Hamish pursues answers, things get more and more complicated as more and more possible perpetrators are identified, even though Inspector Bates, Hamish's nemesis from Strathbane, has decided who the murderer is without much "detecting". Further complicating things, another person is killed under very strange circumstances throwing the entire investigation into doubt.
Hamish's love life or lack thereof, as he is stood up a number of times, adds some spice as a humorous sub-plot.
Eventually, all is wrapped up in a rather long epilogue. Hamish figures it all out but gives the credit to someone else so he won't be promoted and have to leave his beloved Lochdubh.
Though there are references to previous stories in the series, this book stands on its own as a light but interesting mystery. ...more
I missed Nic Costa and Gianni Peroni, the usual protagonists in Hewson's "Nic Costa" series. It's been awhile since I read the last one. I also wonderI missed Nic Costa and Gianni Peroni, the usual protagonists in Hewson's "Nic Costa" series. It's been awhile since I read the last one. I also wondered if Leo Falcone would recover from his wounds and whether Emily Deacon and Nic would stay together. All, plus more, is answered in this story.
Briefly, if that's possible, a killer, Giorgio Bramante, is released from prison after 14 years. He was convicted of beating to death, a suspect, Ludo Torchia, in the disappearance of his son, Alessio. The irony is that the beating took place in a Questura interview room. Heads rolled and careers were ruined. Alessio's body was never found. All five of Torchia's companions escaped any prosecution because of what happened to their leader.
Moving forward to today, Bramante seems to be killing off everyone associated with his son's disappearance even including Falcone who arrested him for the murder of Torchia. Costa and Peroni work to uncover the why's of the killings and the whereabouts of Bramante, who has disappeared into underground Rome, which as an archeologist, he knows quite well.
There are numerous sub-plots. Bruno Messina is the Commissario in charge of the investigation and also happens to be the son of Arturo, who was fired for allowing Bramante to question and beat Torchia. Bramante likes to grab hostages in order to get the person he wishes to kill to trade themselves for the hostage. Thus, all those associated with Nic, Gianni or Leo are hidden at Arturo Messina's villa in Orvieto. Relationships hold the key to the past and to finding Bramante and hopefully Alessio's body.
After many blind alleys or in this case, tunnels, Bramante is finally tracked down and the subsequent action, answers most of the riddles.
Hewson, explores quite a bit of family psychology, through his characters. He also explores the thin line between sanity and insanity. There is also a sub-text of how family relationships can be used for good or evil.
The last third of the book dragged a little. I was also put off by the number of coincidences that led to the final denouement. Nevertheless, Hewson neatly ties everything up and provides a satisfying ending.
One does not have to have read previous books in the series to enjoy this story....more
I don't know why but I really enjoy this series set in 14th century England. The writing is OK. The plot is OK. The characterizations are OK. I guessI don't know why but I really enjoy this series set in 14th century England. The writing is OK. The plot is OK. The characterizations are OK. I guess it's the totality that grabs me.
In this book, Bailiff Simon Puttock and Keeper of the King's Peace Sir Baldwin Furnshill attend the funeral of Roger, Squire of Thornleigh in the midst of Baldwin's wedding preparations. At the funeral, Baldwin is touched by the fact that the new Squire, 5 year old Herbert, seems to be very vulnerable. Sure enough, soon after the wedding to his lovely Jeanne, he and Simon are told of Herbert's accidental death. They head for Thornleigh and discover that Herbert was actually murdered.
There are no end of suspects and the rest of the story involves the two men sorting things out. Just when it appears they have the perpetrator, something changes their minds. The process is painful and the eventual solution is surprising.
Jecks does a superb job of setting the scene. He has obviously done extensive research. Both his descriptions of the lives of the characters and their mindsets are well done. He also saves a little shocker for the final chapter.
I believe this book would be enjoyable whether someone has read the preceding books in the series or not....more
Perhaps someone other than me can explain how a story that has very little action, populated by post WW I Brits, and whose protagonist carries someonePerhaps someone other than me can explain how a story that has very little action, populated by post WW I Brits, and whose protagonist carries someone he was forced to execute in his head can transfix me from start to finish. Must be the writing, right?
The irony is that the author(s), a mother and son team are Americans and live in different cities. Must be empathy and telepathy, right?
Whatever it is, they authored an outstanding mystery in this volume, the 8th in the Inspector Rutledge Series. Rutledge is dispatched by his enemy, Superintendent Bowles, to investigate the wounding by an arrow of Constable Hensley, an ex-London Bobbie, now posted to Dudlington, a very small village North of London. As he works the case he uncovers a number of unsolved disappearances that only he sees as possibly connected to Hensley's attack in the Firth Forest, a forbidding thicket outside of town, usually avoided by the locals.
Eventually we meet most of the people in the town, almost all of whom, resent Rutledge's very presence to say nothing of his inquiries. The characterizations are very well done. Not everyone dislikes Rutledge. He befriends the local Doctor and Rector and gets on well with Hensley's superiors.
There is also a sub-plot involving the mysterious appearance of Maxim machine gun cartridges and Rutledge's feeling he is being shadowed.
In the end, Rutledge, solves the mystery in a surprising conclusion and finds the guilty party in the disappearances. He also finally meets the person who's been leaving the cartridges as he is winding up the Hensley case and the disappearances.
The finale is complicated but satisfying. I can hardly wait to get to volume 9....more
I read a Sidebottom, Warrior of Rome Series, book, "Lion of the Sun", a few years ago and enjoyed it immensely. It's #3 in the Warrior of Rome Series.I read a Sidebottom, Warrior of Rome Series, book, "Lion of the Sun", a few years ago and enjoyed it immensely. It's #3 in the Warrior of Rome Series. This novel is the first in the series.
Ballista is a Celt, son of a tribal chief, who was held as a Roman hostage as a child. He becomes a noted warrior and is dispatched as Dux Ripae by the co-emperors Valerian and Gallienus to protect the citadel city of Arete, on the Eastern edge of the Empire, from a Persian Sassanid invasion.
He survives the long trip there and discovers that his task is even more difficult than he imagined as the client Kings in the region will not give him any troops. As a result, he and his 1200 soldiers face a massed army of 40 or 50,000 Sassanids. Much of the early part of the book covers his dangerous trip to this outpost on the Euphrates River and the efforts to make the city as impregnable as possible. The last half details the siege and the fighting to keep the Sassanids at bay.
Sidebottom does a very good job of describing the details of the fighting, almost up to the standards of Bernard Cornwell. His character development is done very well, also. The problems of maintaining an Empire that is disintegrating is implied as this is the third century AD and the Roman military machine is no longer invincible.
I enjoyed this volume as much as I did "Lion of the Sun" and plan to read the rest of the series....more
There's something about Dashiell Hammett's writing that, even when I was very young, I enjoyed immensely: perhaps because it was so uncluttered, not qThere's something about Dashiell Hammett's writing that, even when I was very young, I enjoyed immensely: perhaps because it was so uncluttered, not quite to Hemingway's standards but nevertheless clear and concise.
Joe Gores has managed to capture that clarity in this book. In some ways, the book is three short stories taking place in 1921, 1925 and 1928. There is a theme that runs through all three, a villain that Spade cannot get out of his craw. In each section, the reader can not only see how Spade has changed but also how he remains true to his principles. He's tough, smart, with no sentimentality except for people he's protecting or his secretary Effie.
The first story involves the theft of Gold Specie off an Australian ship, the second the murder of a San Francisco banker involved in fraud, and the third introduces a beautiful Chinese woman, the illegitimate daughter of Sun Yat Sen, looking for a quarter million dollars raised for her father but never delivered.
Each story leads into the next and each also involves Spade's unnamed nemesis who he finally meets face to face in the conclusion of the third section. Everything is neatly tied up at the end.
The book ends with Effie announcing a new client, Miss Wonderly. If you've read the book or seen the movie, "The Maltese Falcon", you know what's coming next. I should admit here that the 1941 movie with Humphery Bogart and Mary Astor is in my top five films of all time.
I think Gores has done a great job of capturing Hammet's style and faithfully presenting Sam Spade in this prequel. I loved it. Took me back to my youth. ...more