AC: ...here we are with a murder on the premises, and the police, poor fish, barking up the wrong tree. JA: Fish don't bark up trees. AC: You'd be surprAC: ...here we are with a murder on the premises, and the police, poor fish, barking up the wrong tree. JA: Fish don't bark up trees. AC: You'd be surprised what the police can do when they get on the track, even when it's the wrong track. ~Arthur Crook; Joseph Anstruther
Anthony Gilbert is a pseudonym for Lucy Beatrice Malleson. She was a prolific British mystery writer (over 70 novels written under this pseudonym alone--she had several others) whose most famous creation is Arthur G. Crook, lawyer-detective. Her novels are known for skillful plotting, entertaining dialogue and interesting action. Arthur G. Crook is known for the fact that his clients are always innocent. Always.
Death in the Wrong Room (1947) features cold-blooded killing in the midst of post-World War II cut-backs. Years ago Colonel Anstruther's daughter, a beauty in the Botticelli style, had run away, married too-handsome-for-his-own-good ne'er-do-well, and wound up in the gambling life of the French Riviera. While she was away, the Colonel had built The Downs where he and his right-hand man Jock had lived in seclusion. When Rose Anstruther (who has re-taken her maiden name) shows up one fine day with bags and baggage, her father welcomes her home with the admonition that her husband never darken the door. She tells him that won't be difficult--Captain Fleming has taken the coward gambler's way out and shot himself. His name is never mentioned again and they settle down to a quiet life together--expanding the household by one when the Colonel's brother Joseph shows up looking for bed and board. Then the war happens.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the family's reduced circumstances force them to taken in paying guests. The Colonel absolutely insists that the boarders be kept away from the family and the family's area of the large home is made strictly out of bounds. Until Lady Bate and her young niece arrive. Lady Bate is an irascible old woman who has managed to wear out her welcome in hotels and boarding houses throughout the area. From the moment she arrives, she manages to bully the other paying guests, offend the servants, and thoroughly annoy the Anstruthers.
Lady Bate considers herself above the other paying guests and can't understand why she cannot see the lady of the house and be on an equal footing with her (much more suitable than the loud, talkative Mrs. Hunter and the deaf, eccentric Miss Twiss). One afternoon, when everyone else is out, she steals her chance and finds Rose Anstruther in her sitting room. And, how extraordinary--they've met before. From that moment, Lady Bate manages to wheedle special favors--morning tea in her room, a separate table for her and her niece, and she's working on a sitting room of her own.
Meanwhile, Caroline meets the personable Roger Carlton and begins to see a glimmer of happiness that brightens her existence as Lady Bate's gofer and dogsbody. But her aunt manages to ruin that as well--monopolizing Roger and, finally, deciding that he could be the son she never had--down to deciding she should change her will in his favor. Then--as in many a detective novel--Lady Bate dies before she can sign the new will. The police immediately fasten on the not-quite-disinherited niece as the obvious suspect. Enter Arthur Crook.
He'd prided himself that he understood the murderer's mind, now he knew that it is only when he is, in fact, out of his mind that a man is prepared to slay.
Since he takes up Caroline's case, obviously someone else must be guilty and he sets about finding out who and why. Could it be that Uncle Joseph finally decided to indulge in a real-life version of his favorite hobby--murder mysteries? Or was it Miss Twiss--she had been caught with Lady Bate's missing diamond ring. Had she stepped deeper into crime? And what about the hold Lady Bate seemed to have over Rose Anstruther...was that worth murdering for? And did Rose do the deed or did the devoted Jock decide to get rid of the problem. Crook will (quite literally) risk his life to keep his perfect record of innocent clients....
Overall, this is another fine outing by Gilbert--not quite the surprise ending that I've experienced in other books, but the story-telling is excellent, the characters are quite distinct and fully fleshed out, and the detective work of Crook is definitely up to standard. My one complaint with Gilbert's books is that she brings Crook in quite late in the game and sometimes this just doesn't work well (The Innocent Bottle is an example), but, here, the chapters introducing the characters and setting the back ground are quite necessary and very interesting so his absence isn't as keenly felt. Very entertaining. ★★★ and a half.
Beyond the Ice Limit (2016) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is the creepiest book that I have R.I.P. XI Event, so it's fitting that it will be thBeyond the Ice Limit (2016) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is the creepiest book that I have R.I.P. XI Event, so it's fitting that it will be the last book logged for that reading event. The book is the unexpected sequel to Preston & Child's Ice Limit and it takes place five years after the tragic ending of that adventure. In the first story, Eli Glinn, the head of Effective Engineering Solutions, took a team to a remote island off the coast of South America to recover a gigantic meteorite--the largest that had ever been. He was in the employ of New York billionaire Palmer Lloyd who wanted to add the space rock to his collection of unique items.The mission ended in disaster when their ship, the Rolvaag, was attached by a rogue Chilean ship and went down in a vicious storm in the freezing waters and taking its unique cargo to the ocean floor. One hundred and eight crew members perished, and Eli Glinn was left paralyzed. read for Carl's
Now, five years later, Glinn is heading up a mission back to the site of the disaster. Reports he has been given show that the meteorite was much more than just a rock from space--it was a seed. And the thing has sprouted and is growing, reaching up through the watery depths like a giant tree. This time, it's not just a billionaire's rock collection at stake--but the survival of Earth itself. Gideon Crew has been added to the team to give them the benefit of his nuclear expertise, because it looks like the only thing that will take out the newly dubbed Baobab is an atomic blast. It's not as easy as dropping a nuke on the thing though (of course!). The Baobab has extensive roots under the sea floor and they will have to make sure they get all of it the first time.
The creature isn't just a mindless organism out to reproduce itself. It becomes apparent that there is an intelligence driving its actions and the creature isn't going to go down without a fight.
I haven't read a lot of Preston and Child's work (I'm a weenie when it comes to suspense thrillers), but I have to say that every one I've read has been well done and dragged me right in--in spite of myself. Beyond the Ice Limit was no different. And it made no difference that I hadn't read the earlier book. It may have helped fill in some of the backstory, but the authors give enough background information and context clues that this novel can easily be read as a stand-alone. It is an action-packed thriller and it would make a spine-tingling SF/suspense movie. Lots of scientific exploration and speculation and plenty of gruesome alien critter vs. humans action. I'm not going to spoil it--but let's just say I was extremely reluctant to go to sleep after listening to installments of the latter half of this audio novel. It was very interesting to see how the creature modified its attacks as it learned more about the humans--just as our heroes had to modify their reactions. My biggest quibble with the authors is that they killed off two of my favorite characters in the story--a strong female character (the only one we really get to know; and this is no spoiler because she's gone VERY quickly in the book) and a very sympathetic character who also happens to be a book-lover. Overall, another excellent action thriller by Preston and Child.
The Warsaw Anagrams (2009) by Richard Zimler is a heartbreaking historical thriller set in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. The story is told byThe Warsaw Anagrams (2009) by Richard Zimler is a heartbreaking historical thriller set in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. The story is told by Erik Cohen, an elderly psychiatrist, who leaves a Nazi intern camp only to discover that he is no longer alive. He is an ibbur--a spirit--and no one can see him until he makes his way back to the Ghetto. There he finds Heniek Corben, a visionary man and the only person who can see this spectre from the camp, to whom he must tell his tale. The story begins in the Ghetto, so it is fitting that it can only be told where it began. Cohen's story centers on his young nephew, Adam. Cohen, like all other Jews in Warsaw, has been forced to relocate to the Ghetto--an area surrounded by barbed wire to keep them separated from Christians. He moves in with his niece and her son and must learn to adjust to living in cramped quarters in close proximity with a young boy. Adam teaches his great-uncle much as Erik learns to love and protect his nephew and overcome his selfishness. But Adam is also savvy to the ways of the underground and risks much to bring back forbidden supplies from "The Other Side" (as life beyond the Ghetto walls is know). One night, Adam does not return home and his mutilated body is found the next morning on the barbed wire. It becomes Erik's mission to find out who did this to Adam--why was he killed and why his right leg cut off?
Erik's investigation leads him to the murders of other Jewish children--all left on the barbed wire with various parts removed and never the same parts. There are rumors that someone is taking the parts to build a golem, but Erik doesn't believe in superstition and isn't even sure he believes in God anymore. What kind of God would allow children to be brutalized like this? Erik is sure there is a darker, more horribly realistic motive behind the killing and he won't rest until he discovers it.
Generally speaking, I don't do well with books that involve violence of any sort directed towards children. Even when I know it's not real, I just can't do it--I never could and even more so once I became a mother. But this book is so very well done and the focus is so much on Erik's investigation of the murders rather than on the details of the murders themselves, that I could enjoy it. Zimler creates a very moving and intriguing story in the midst of the overall horror of the Nazis' atrocities. He also creates a sense of hope in the midst of hopelessness by focusing on the simple, everyday activities of the Jewish people within the Ghetto--from the children going secretly to school and forming a choir to the small kindnesses that neighbors extend to one another to the few Polish Christians who risk punishment by providing what they can for the Jews they know behind the barbed wire. It is an absorbing and heart-breaking story and well worth your time whether you are looking for a World War II setting or a mystery thriller.
I wound up skimming a great deal of this--just so I could have a good idea of the plot. Each time I "came in for a landing" (so to speak) I found thatI wound up skimming a great deal of this--just so I could have a good idea of the plot. Each time I "came in for a landing" (so to speak) I found that not much had changed. I could not give this one a rating--since I did not read the entire book.