Or at least on my reading list.
Over the last fortnight, I’ve taken a break from my book club titles and have dedicated myself to murder, mischief, (misogyny) and mysteries.
Earlier this year, I started slowly working my way through the unread books on my shelves. I started with my miniature crime section because outside of my Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers collection, I rarely reread thrillers and crime novels. I’m determined to clear some shelf space and reading then donating these seemed quite the best option!
As a result I read A Certain Justice by P. D. James – the 10th in her Adam Dalgliesh series and hugely enjoyed it. While I had finished her take on Jane Austen’s Pemberley, it was my first of the crime novels for which she is famous.
Also off the shelf was The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, the Icelandic Queen of Crime. It was dark and twisted and the first in her Children’s House series. I loved the writing so when I spotted The Undesired in a charity shop a short time later, I quickly picked it up (then read it and redonated it – I really am determined to claw back some shelf space).
So last week, when I was visiting the library, I picked up Cover her Face – the first in the Dalgliesh series and Gallows Rock – the 4th in the Children’s House books.
Cover her Face did not disappoint. It’s clearly a much earlier version of the detective, but one that leaves me very keen to get stuck into the rest. It was pure chance that I picked up the first of his adventures – it was all that was on the shelf – but I’ve been impressed enough that I will try to read the rest in order.
Gallows Rock didn’t quite inspire the same feelings. The two primary characters – the child specialist and the detective – are in remarkably similar positions to the first book. I’m all for crime being the focus but the lack of character development disappointed me a little. Still, the author is prolific and I’ll very likely try her other series and stand alone novels at some point in the future.
And I managed to donate two books off my shelves, as well as supporting my local library! Huzzah!
The Dry was the debut novel of Jane Harper. It’s set in Australia and follows an investigator returning to a tiny, hostile town to try to uncover whether his childhood best friend really had killed his family. The town is experiencing a very bad drought. As a result, neighbourly spirit is light on the ground. Having grown up in a drought stricken country, I found the psychological aspects really fascinating while the murder mystery component felt a little light. Still a really good debut and I’ll be keeping an eye out for her more recent offerings.
Finally, Red Riding was all the rage about a decade ago and this – the first in David Peace’s quartet has probably sat on a shelf for as long.
Not for me. I’m sure that the technique is very well done but it was noir walking on a very dark path indeed. Brutal, viscous and cruel murder, utter corruption at every turn, rape, racism, homophobia – I just couldn’t wait to finish it. In fact, I read the final (completely depressing) page while tying my shoe laces so that I could immediately place it in the sharing book box across the road. I truly hated the experience of reading this. Which is possibly a sign that it’s really very well done indeed but there is NO CHANCE that I’ll be reading any more of these of ever watching the TV adaptation or new film adaptations. Not a chance!
So now I’m back to my book club choices! The Glass Hotel for Sunday’s #LBCWSwan and The Housekeeper + The Professor for #LBCHorsforth next Wednesday.