This is the fourth book in the NeedleCraft Mystery series which currently number 18. I listen to these on audiobook, usually while working at my sewinThis is the fourth book in the NeedleCraft Mystery series which currently number 18. I listen to these on audiobook, usually while working at my sewing machine as they are such a good accompaniment to crafting.
I have listened to the books completely out of sequence. This one being the earliest in the series I have heard so far, but going out of order has not spoilt my enjoyment at all.
Betsy Devonshire has inherited a needlework shop based in the town of Excelsior, Minnesota. As well as learning to run a small business she has become proficient in needlework. Betsy has also developed a knack for solving crime.
It is interesting to see the effect on Betsy of being involved in such adventures. At the start of this story Betsy is suffering from terrible nightmares. Nightmares that are so realistic she cannot always tell the difference between being awake and asleep. There is enough information so that I can empathise with Betsy’s situation and understand why she feels so upset.
The story quickly moves from the usual setting in Excelsior to a remote rustic lodge. The only one of the regular cast of characters to appear along with Betsy is her friend Jill. This device allows us to watch Betsy’s character grow and develop. Without the distraction of the usual set of people that surround her it is possible to focus on Betsy without distraction.
She has to decide if she wants to continue investigating when crime comes her way. Or if the effects on her psyche are just to much for her to cope with. She finds than when confronted with injustice she cannot walk away. And so when she finds a body she is compelled to solve the mystery.
By the end of the story Betsy has recognised that her compulsion to solve mysteries can bring peace to the innocent. The occasional bad dream is a small price to pay....more
This series mixes the family life of the main character with the details of a police procedural. Sometimes it works better than others. It's a difficuThis series mixes the family life of the main character with the details of a police procedural. Sometimes it works better than others. It's a difficult balancing act and this time it dipped too far towards family to the detriment of the "crime" element of the story.
Simon Serrailler is a Detective Chief Superintendent in the catherdral town of Lafferton. His sister, brother-in-law and their children have just returned from an 18 month sabbatical in Australia and while readjusting to life in England devasting news is received about the health of one of the family. Simon's father has embarked on a new relationship while Simon is still mourning the death of his mother. All these changes in his personal life leave him feeling confused and despondent about life in general. At the same time a serial killer, or maybe more than one, is targeting young women. The only link seems to be that they are recently married or have plans to get married.
One of the pleasures I get from this series is following the development of the family story and in this installment it seemed to be the only saving grace. Watching how Simon and his sister cope with a devastating illness in the family was moving and felt honest and realistic. In comparison the murder mystery elementt of the story felt as though it was tacked on because it had to be and kept intruding onto the real story. I felt it was obvious who the killer was and the red herrings thrown into the pot simply didn't work as the bad guy was known from the beginning. Other story lines seemed an intrusion but I've found that what seems irrelevant in one story becomes essential knowledge in the next.
Although not the best in the series so far I liked it enough to continue reading the series....more
This book felt as though Kathy Reichs had to write a novel because it was in her contract to do so but she was so bored with it all that she couldn'tThis book felt as though Kathy Reichs had to write a novel because it was in her contract to do so but she was so bored with it all that she couldn't be bothered to be original.
I liked the setting, nice to see Tempe at home rather than in Canada. I liked the NASCAR references. Can't think of anything else in the story I liked. The "bad guy" was obvious, the story felt contrived. The parts regarding Tempe and the ex husband's new fiancee were nonsense.
I'm glad this was borrowed from the library as I would have been very cross if I had paid good money for it....more
If you haven't read any of the Harry Hole series don't start with this one. Even if you don't want to start at the beginning of the series read a coupIf you haven't read any of the Harry Hole series don't start with this one. Even if you don't want to start at the beginning of the series read a couple of the others to get a feel for the characters and the setting before reading this, it will be worth the effort.
It is almost impossible to review this book without giving away spoilers and this book is one of the few I have ever come across where not knowing what is going to happen next really is important and adds to the pleasure of the read. Every time I thought I had worked out what was going on there was a new set of twists and turns that changed everything but these twists and turns were not impossible situations that could only exist in the mind of the author. The situation is more like at first only having a torch to illuminate a large room, you can't see everything and don't know how items interrelate, as the illumination becomes brighter you can see more and it all begins to make sense but everything was already there just waiting for you to make the connections.
I've enjoyed every book in this series but I absolutely loved this one. I would recommend it to everybody but as I said to start with don't make it your first read of this series. ...more
A period of English history that isn't particularly well known, somehow the period between William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart seems to beA period of English history that isn't particularly well known, somehow the period between William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart seems to be a forgotten era. This book tells the interwoven stories of two queens, Matilda the daughter of Henry I and Adeliza his wife. Matilda was the only surviving legitimate child of Henry and at his death was entitled to be crowned Queen of England. Adeliza was her stepmother but the two were so close in age the relationship seemed more sisterly than mother-daughter. The right to rule England was contested by Stephen who was the grandson of William the Conqueror and this caused civil war in England. The story is not so much about the battles, the strategy, the planning, the to and fro of warfare but it looks at the relationship between the two women, how it evolved over time and how they were viewed by the men who surrounded them. These were independent minded, well educated women born at a time where women were not valued for their own sake.
This story provided an insight into an interesting and turbulent time from an interesting perspective and I thoroughly enjoyed it....more
Before I started this book I had concerns that a story where the main characters were Lithuanian or Danish,neither speaking the other's language and oBefore I started this book I had concerns that a story where the main characters were Lithuanian or Danish,neither speaking the other's language and occasionally having to use English as a common language would be too confusing to follow. This was largely overcome by listening to this as an audiobook and having an excellent narrator who managed to give each individual a clear and unique voice.
Siggata wakes up in hospital with a broken arm, it has been assumed that she is a habitual drunk as there was a vast quantity of alcohol in her system when she was admitted to hospital. Nobody at the hospital can tell her where her little boy is and when she gets home the child is not with neighbours, a babysitter or his father. He seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth.
Meanwhile, in Denmark , Nina receives a phone call from Karin, an old friend and nursing colleague. Karin is distraught and needs Nina's help. Nina is the sort of person who cannot turn down a request for help so she agrees to meet up at which point she is given a key to a left luggage locker at the railway station. She retrieves a suitcase from the locker and opens it to discover it contains a small child, drugged but alive.
The rest of the novel follows Nina's attempts to keep the boy safe while she try to find out what has happened to him and how he ended up in the suitcase. All made more difficult as he speaks only Lithuanian and she speaks Danish and English. And we follow Siggata's determined efforts to track down her son, find out here he is, who took him and for what reason.
This is an excellent book. I would highly recommend it to both those who like thrillers/ mysteries and those who like strong female leads. I will certainly be looking for the next in this series.
This book is filled itch strong female characters, women who don't need a man to solve problems for them but who go out and solve those problems for themselves. ...more
One of the reasons I enjoy getting books from the library is that I can take risks with authors I have never come across before. Sometimes I discoverOne of the reasons I enjoy getting books from the library is that I can take risks with authors I have never come across before. Sometimes I discover writers whose books I eagerly await and othertimes I end up being glad I didn't part with cold, hard cash for something I didn't enjoy.
I completely missed all the hype surrounding this book. When I picked it off the new releases shelf in the library I wasn't aware that this was supposed to be the book of 2013 by a rising young star who was being compared to J K Rowling. This meant my thoughts was not influenced by other people's opinions and I could judge the book on its own merits.
I very much wanted to like this book, I tried hard to enjoy it but came away from it very disappointed. I didn't find any characters sympathic, found their behaviour unsympathetic and their reactions to situations unbelievable. All in all not an enjoyable read and I won't be tempted to follow the series as it continues.
Once again I've jumped around in a series instead of reading through as written. I started with book 2 last year and have gone straight to book 13. OnOnce again I've jumped around in a series instead of reading through as written. I started with book 2 last year and have gone straight to book 13. One of the reasons I like listening to this series is that it doesn't take much concentration and I can easily continue doing other things without being distracted. These books are light and easy, nothing gory happens , the bad guys are caught and punished the good guys live to fight another day. I like the narrators voice, it suits the story very well. Occasionally a word will sound peculiar but I'm never sure if it has been mispronounced or if it is the difference between American English and British English.
To summarise, Betsy Devonshire owns a needle craft shop in the small town of Excelsior, when like any good citizen she helps out with local events such as the planning of the Halloween parade. She also has a talent for amature detective work and when another local small business owner, who happens to practise Wicca, is accused of killing someone by putting a spell on them Betsy solves the case and clears her friend's name.
I thought it all a bit obvious and simplistic but nonetheless entertaining for that, sometimes what is needed is comfort food for the brain and this certainly qualifies. ...more