Set in 1940, during the time many Britons still hoped Appeasement would work, the hero is Merlin, a detective who longs to enlist but whose boss refus...moreSet in 1940, during the time many Britons still hoped Appeasement would work, the hero is Merlin, a detective who longs to enlist but whose boss refuses to let him go.
An emigre scientist is killed in a hit and run accident. Then a woman is murdered and thrown into the Thames.
There's nothing to connect them, even when the woman is found to be an employee of the American Embassy in London, whose absent ambassador is none other than Joseph Kennedy.
Then another Embassy employee is killed, and Merlin finds himself up to the eyeballs in sex and blackmail, and having to go up against even his boss to interrogate Embassy personnel. (No one wants to make waves with the Americans.)
This mystery is right-on about the atmosphere of England in those pre-war days, and dragging in Kennedy makes it more interesting to us Americans.
The main story is about a woman who, despite unresolved issues with her mother, decides to keep the French chateau her mother left her. Going through...moreThe main story is about a woman who, despite unresolved issues with her mother, decides to keep the French chateau her mother left her. Going through it, she finds a set of poems written by her father's sister who died during World War II.
Then she meets a man who claims his grandmother knew her father during the war. She keeps searching to find more about his grandmother and about her aunt.
As she falls in love with him, the story goes back to the English grandmother and her training to go into France and hook up with the Resistance. (This part was more interesting than the tale of Emile, IMO.) It also goes into how her father's sister fell in love with a German.
Emile makes some wrong decisions, but I can't fault her because I wasn't sure myself what was happening until too late. In the end, the two intertwined story come to a satisfactory conclusion.
A nice gothic type for those of us who enjoy them.(less)
This is a book about Poland, but the way it reads, reminds me of some Indian or Afghan or Russian writing, perhaps because the heroine takes a 'what w...moreThis is a book about Poland, but the way it reads, reminds me of some Indian or Afghan or Russian writing, perhaps because the heroine takes a 'what will be, will be' view of the world. In spite of this, she muddles along, doing what she thinks is right. For example, on her way to a job interview, she nearly gets killed rescuing a mongrel from traffic; then, not knowing what to do with it, she takes it to the interview in her ruined hose and muddied suit.
In a way, this is a Cinderella story. The heroine, a polio victim who struggles with a withered arm and leg, manages to care for her eccentric family. And this isn't easy. Her father is a college professor who lives in the clouds with little practical sense and a decided opinion. Her brother has retreated from the world. Her mother has Alzheimer's. They depend on Cordelia for everything and never acknowledge they can't do without her.
So Cordelia tends to the decaying house and her quirky family and tries to keep them on track.
Then she meets up with a man who has been named by a government bureau or department or agency as an unscrupulous builder. Named by rumor and insinuations, but never facts. Evidently, the government agency uses this to divert attention from its activities and defeat people who are calling for its dissolution.
Cordelia doesn't know whether to believe him but when he puts his trust in her, she can't let him down. He needs her, too.
Just when I thought the story ended, it took up again. It could almost have been two books. But the characters stayed in my mind long after I finished reading.
Dakota Stevens is a PI, assisted by his trusty sidekick??? Svetlana, a tall blonde chess champion.
During a NY snowstorm, a man staggers into their off...moreDakota Stevens is a PI, assisted by his trusty sidekick??? Svetlana, a tall blonde chess champion.
During a NY snowstorm, a man staggers into their office and gives them ten thousand dollars to find a stolen painting.
From that beginning, they discover the world of art forgery. In this case, someone is scamming customers by selling them forgeries of stolen artwork that's missing. Before the truth comes out, their client disappears, Dakota gets involved with a hot artist, Svetlana is forced to let her estranged father (Russian mafia) send some of his goons to protect her, and there's violence and misdirection everywhere.
The writing and plotline are nice, the characterization not so much. I couldn't quite connect with the leading characters but that may be because I don't yet understand them. Maybe in later adventures, they'll become less caricature and more like real people.
Conor's mother is dying. He's trying to deal with that as well as the family land. He had to give up the vi...moreBeautiful writing spins an engrossing tale.
Conor's mother is dying. He's trying to deal with that as well as the family land. He had to give up the violin he loved, and the fame he was beginning to acquire from it, in order to work the farm that should have been his brother's. Instead, his brother takes off for parts unknown, leaving Conor to hold the bag when an investment goes sour. An investment Conor had unknowingly signed off on.
When some sort of government official turns up, offering Conor a chance to find his brother, Conor is reluctant. But with his mother's urging and his own desire to find Tom -- for revenge? closure? -- Conor begins training as a spy.
Tom's trail leads from Ireland to Mumbai, and Conor finds himself in deeper peril than he expected.
There are some missteps in the story, with Conor doing some things that seem simply there to forward the story, but perhaps the next book in the series will bring understanding.
I wanted to give this three and a half stars because the craft wasn't as polished as it could have been, but rounded to four anyway. The fast-paced pl...moreI wanted to give this three and a half stars because the craft wasn't as polished as it could have been, but rounded to four anyway. The fast-paced plot was exciting enough to keep me reading.
The story starts with a scary scene when a pilot reliving battle scenes attacks his co-pilot. A doctor on board is called to the cockpit, but the situation deteriorates as the pilot again goes off on a tangent. Dr. James eventually has to take the controls.
From that beginning, we're drawn into the world of drugs. Legal drugs peddled by the big pharmaceutical companies. Drugs that sometimes slip through the tests and trials and end up doing real harm to people. Dr. James trusts one of these, a drug called Eden that promotes weight loss. To his horror, as the story unwinds, it also promotes a killing disease in humans similar to Mad Cow Disease. And the drug company will do whatever it takes to keep it quiet.
Before it's over, Dr. James's personal and medical reputation is at stake, as well as his life and the lives of his family.
This is a dark and violent thriller, not for everyone.
Our heroine Sarah sees a little girl being forced into a van and gives chase. Since she was abus...moreThis is a dark and violent thriller, not for everyone.
Our heroine Sarah sees a little girl being forced into a van and gives chase. Since she was abused as a child, she can imagine what will happen to the child and is determined to save her. She calls her husband, alerting him to what's going on.
Her husband, losing touch with his wife, goes to the police. Then he teams up with the child's father, an ex-military type, to follow the trail his wife left.
Then Sarah is captured by the kidnapper.
The story weaves back and forth between Sarah's viewpoint, her husband's viewpoint, the father's viewpoint, even the kidnapper's viewpoint. Sarah's determination is admirable, as is that of her husband and the father.
This is a book I couldn't wait to get back to reading.
Excellent read, but not for the faint of heart.(less)