The Norwegian ambassador, a friend of the Prime Minister, has been found in a Bangkok motel/brothel with a knife in his back. The Norwegian government...moreThe Norwegian ambassador, a friend of the Prime Minister, has been found in a Bangkok motel/brothel with a knife in his back. The Norwegian government has requested that detective Harry Hole fly to Thailand to work on the case with the Thai police. Why was the depressed alcoholic Hole chosen? There are politicians that want to cover up the sordid details, and they feel the self-destructive Hole will be too busy drowning his sorrows to do a thorough investigation. But Harry sobers up, and looks deeply into the dealings of a group of corrupt Norwegian expats. The fast-paced plot has lots of twists and turns as Hole ferrets out the murderer.
The story shows lots of local color in the seedy streets of Bangkok--the world of prostitutes, drug dealers, opium dens, and pornographers. Traffic is out of control as drivers muscle their way through congested roads like a swarm of insects.
Harry found cockroaches in his room. He had "read that they hide when they hear the vibrations of someone approaching and that for every cockroach you can see there are at least ten hiding. That meant they were everywhere." It seemed that society's "cockroaches" were also everywhere in the corrupt underworld.
Cockroaches is the second Harry Hole novel. The series of books by Jo Nesbo was translated into English starting with the third book, The Redbreast. His first two books, The Bat and Cockroaches, were translated later, and give the reader some of the back story of the damaged detective.
The closure of many historic pubs in London inspired the author to write the sixth Bryant and May mystery. Octogenarians Arthur Bryant and John May ar...moreThe closure of many historic pubs in London inspired the author to write the sixth Bryant and May mystery. Octogenarians Arthur Bryant and John May are the senior detectives of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. After four women fall over dead in the pubs around London, they suspect a serial killer. Meanwhile, there is a danger that the Peculiar Crimes Unit might be shut down by headquarters.
The mystery is told with a quirky British humor. Lots of historical information about London is woven into the plot. Londoners would especially enjoy reading about their historic pubs, and a list of the pubs mentioned in the book is on the back pages. Let's raise a pint to Bryant and May!(less)
This is a Victorian mystery with Oscar Wilde acting as an investigator in the manner of Sherlock Holmes, the creation of Wilde's friend Arthur Conan D...moreThis is a Victorian mystery with Oscar Wilde acting as an investigator in the manner of Sherlock Holmes, the creation of Wilde's friend Arthur Conan Doyle. Wilde is very observant, as well as being a charming, witty conversationalist and writer. The story is narrated by Wilde's real friend, author Robert Sherard who is a character similar to Dr Watson. Wilde is searching for the murderer of a young male prostitute, found dead in a room full of incense and flickering candles. Oscar Wilde wrote the story "The Picture of Dorian Gray" based on the demise of the young Billy Wood.
The story incorporates Victorian historical characters and events into a murder mystery. There were many wonderful quotes from Oscar Wilde, giving the reader a sense of his entertaining personality. The book transported the reader to Victorian England, but the period details sometimes slowed the flow of the mystery. Oscar Wilde tied it all up with a "Sherlock Holmes" type of an explanation at the end, which included a little twist.(less)
3.5 stars Harry Hole has been sent by the Chief Constable in Oslo to work with the police in Sydney who are investigating the murder of a Norwegian min...more3.5 stars Harry Hole has been sent by the Chief Constable in Oslo to work with the police in Sydney who are investigating the murder of a Norwegian minor celebrity. He is teamed with Andrew Kensington, an Aboriginal detective, and they suspect that a serial killer may be the culprit. Harry is also battling his own demons related to some earlier tragic events back in Oslo.
As Andrew befriends Harry, he also tells him some history of the Aborigines and their folktales. "The bat is the Aboriginal symbol of death," says Andrew. The bat-like wings of the Sydney Opera House, shown on the cover, contribute to the mood.
Harry is an interesting character--a man with imperfections, but also with a humorous, caring personality. Many of the situations in the story were very colorful, and a few a bit over the top. Overall, I enjoyed the first book in the Harry Hole series, and would like to read one of Jo Nesbø's later books set in Norway.(less)
Mary Russell, the investigator and young wife of Sherlock Holmes, awakens with a concussion and amnesia. She reacts instinctively to avoid capture by...moreMary Russell, the investigator and young wife of Sherlock Holmes, awakens with a concussion and amnesia. She reacts instinctively to avoid capture by a group of soldiers, and wonders how she acquired the knowledge needed to escape. She soon realizes she is in Morocco and her memory comes back in bits and pieces. After Holmes is reunited with her, they become involved in some international intrigue during the 1920s Moroccan independence movement.
Before starting the book, it was helpful to have read a short Wikipedia article about the Rif War to learn the names of the major historical figures in Morocco. Although this is a stand-alone novel, it would have been better to have read the two prior Mary Russell mysteries first to get acquainted with some of the other characters. I started with this book because it was a book group read.
The book presented a good opportunity to learn about the tensions in 1924 Morocco between the colonial powers of Spain and France, and the Moroccan tribesmen of the Rif mountainous region. The characters were colorful and the setting was exotic. Although it had an interesting start, the plot got much too convoluted by the end.(less)
I loved this wonderfully crafted mystery by Agatha Christie. Ten people were invited to an isolated island home for the week. The host never shows, bu...moreI loved this wonderfully crafted mystery by Agatha Christie. Ten people were invited to an isolated island home for the week. The host never shows, but a recording accuses each guest of causing someone's death in the past. One by one, the guests are killed. With no boat and a raging sea surrounding the island, there is no means to escape. Their terror increases as they realize that one of them must be the murderer. Who is taking justice into their own hands? This is a great classic mystery with a surprise ending.(less)
I picked up this book because the setting was the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta where more than six hundred hot air balloons take flight. I...moreI picked up this book because the setting was the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta where more than six hundred hot air balloons take flight. I've seen pictures of the colorful event, and the book has good descriptions of the ballooning.
Rachel Fairfield is going to attempt to break the world altitude record for women at this balloon event. She has been receiving threatening letters so she hired Charlie Parker and her brother Ron to investigate. Rachel's father was just released from prison, and he's on the list of suspects.
There were a lot of things in this mystery that didn't seem too credible, but that often happens in the cozy mystery genre. Charlie Parker is a likable amateur sleuth and sometimes has good insights, but I can't imagine anyone paying someone that just happens to "forget" their gun back at home. It's a light beach read.(less)