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lady narcissa

Mysteries: Cosy, Cats, Capers, Historical, Medical, Procedural and everything in between

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3 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Are there any Ann Cleeves books that don't involve birdwatching? I just finished book three and the whole damn thing is about birding :lol:. The first one was about bird habitat and the second one had a lot of birds in it. (I'm not complaining, mind. it's just not what I expected given my day job and my primary hobby)

https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/ann-cleeves/

There is an Inspector Ramsay series which I find too old fashioned.

Of course you could read the Shetland series, even if you have seen the TV series.

I liked her The Last Call (2019) although it seemed rather similar in mood to Shetland and other series although starting in a different regional area and giving the character a different kind of back story. 

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@Xray the Enforcer ROTF!  Umm I am sorry?  Gosh my memory was that there were some bird things in the Vera books which is one of the reasons I thought you might enjoy them but I guess in my mind they were more passing background than being so prevalent.  I hesitate to say anything about the other Vera books or the Shetland books or her new Two Rivers series because I would say there are no birds but I am probably completely wrong!  I think Cleves' husband had something to do with birds which is probably why they sneak in there so much.

I did want to say I am glad you are enjoying the St. Cyr and Elizabeth Peters books so much.  Elizabeth Peters who also published as Barbara Michaels was luckily a prolific writer so luckily there are lots to read.  Of course since she published so many over so many years, the quality varies.  But even when the stories are overall subpar they usually have fantastic locations and interesting things to learn.  Two of her Vicky Bliss books are probably my most favorite of all - Trojan Gold and Night Train to Memphis.  They are enhanced by the fact that I have audio versions of both books narrated by Kathleen Turner who is really Vicky Bliss personified.  I am just sad that these audio versions no longer seem to be available because they are fantastic.

I have taken a break from the Donna Leon series (which I almost finished!) to read several cosy Halloween mysteries.  Nothing too great but they are very light and subpar easy and about all my brain can handle at the moment as we are preparing for a trial in a couple of weeks which has me very stressed.

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@lady narcissa hahahaha that makes some sense re: birds being somewhere in the writer's background. I actually really like the birding elements, but it made me laugh when I started this third book and four of the prominent characters are twitchers. (I'm not a twitcher -- I don't chase rarities because that whole scene is just really irritating -- but some of my friends are.) 

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Birders / Birding are mainstays in a lot of Brit mysteries, including from the classic golden age era, it seems.  Midsomer Murders dealt with birds and eggs and birding in several episodes over it 20 - 21? year run -- though I don't know about the books from which supposedly they are adapted, having read none of them.

As far as Cleeves's Shetland series goes, the television versions are quite different from the books, just starting with the characters. The books are better, methinks.

 

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Ann Cleeves is a birder, as is her husband, whom she met when she was working at the bird observatory in Shetland. One of the Shetland books is set there, but apart from that birding is not prominent in that particular series, unlike the Vera series.

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Found aother historical mystery series:  Mel Starr's Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series, set in mid-later 14th century England. The first title is The Unquiet Bones, which I just finished, having thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of well-integrated mid-late 14th century historical detail of culture and so on into the narrative and plot, very light on the grue and grisly; the characters are engaging, particularly Hugh. Religion plays exactly the sort of role in Hugh's and others' lives that one would plausibly expect when this did permeate as a matter of everyday course nearly everyone's lives.

He's a strong contrast with S.D. Sykes's Oswald de Lacey series, whose unbeliever protagonist narrator is in the same period. Hugh is attractive and pleasant, which is also a contrast.  But both fellows, who also began their lives in monasteries, are plausibly very intelligent and capable of seeing what's in front of their faces and making patterns.

There are a satisfactory number of titles in the series, starting with the first one in 2008, including the most recent one, published this year

https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/mel-starr/

 

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E.M. Powell’s Stanton and Barling series, set in 12th century England, is pretty good, too. It’s also nice to have a Shardlake-type novel that doesn’t give you a hernia.

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I looked this series up and for reasons I can't articulate, it doesn't sound like what I'm looking for at this time.  I began systematic study of the 14th and 15th centuries some years ago though, and thus I look for fiction from those centuries, I guess, or else, always, the endless Roman-Byzantine-Islamic-Turkish eras, and the subsequent centuries that were called the Dark Ages.  Leavened by a bit of Japanese or Chinese historical eras.  But really, I don't know!  :rofl: I did love the Shardlakes, but they're many centuries later.  Sick to death as I am of Henry VIII, not the least part of the attraction of Sansom's series, is that it was about Sansom, not him.  (Though of course, like all the other sane readers, I have nothing but admiration for Mantell's novels, and enjoyed reading them immensely -- though those aren't mystery-crime novels, at least in the sense that the crimes are committed by the so powerful that they are merely politics.)

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Martin Edwards, Gallows Court (2018), set in 1930, deliberately evoking the British Golden Age of Crime Fiction.  The author is deeply experienced and versed in crime and mystery, having written many of his own, and the Introductions to Golden Age novels, as well as studies of same.

https://poisonedpenpress.com/books/gallows-court/

 

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Has anyone read the Psalm Killer by Chris Petit, or anything else by him? The description reads like a mystery so I thought this would be the appropriate place to post. I had never heard of him before and found a copy of it in a used bookstore and couldnt pass it up. Im fascinated with 20th century Irish history, and its set in Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles. Fingers crossed on the quality.

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22 hours ago, bms295 said:

Has anyone read the Psalm Killer by Chris Petit, or anything else by him? The description reads like a mystery so I thought this would be the appropriate place to post. I had never heard of him before and found a copy of it in a used bookstore and couldnt pass it up. Im fascinated with 20th century Irish history, and its set in Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles. Fingers crossed on the quality.

Nope.  But a quick google while making dinner turned up this:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/03/chris-petit-the-psalm-killer-rereading-alan-moore

Sounds like you're in good reading company there.

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On 11/24/2020 at 1:15 AM, bms295 said:

Has anyone read the Psalm Killer by Chris Petit, or anything else by him? The description reads like a mystery so I thought this would be the appropriate place to post. I had never heard of him before and found a copy of it in a used bookstore and couldnt pass it up. Im fascinated with 20th century Irish history, and its set in Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles. Fingers crossed on the quality.

If you are interested in NI during the Troubles, you should definitely read Adrian McKinty’s DI Duffy series. They are brilliant.

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One does get almighty bored with the great Poirot after a while.  Britbox though seems to agree with the poster who says all anyone needs is Christie.  :D :cheers:  

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15 hours ago, Hereward said:

If you are interested in NI during the Troubles, you should definitely read Adrian McKinty’s DI Duffy series. They are brilliant.

Thanks! Just ordered the first one off Amazon.

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Really enjoyed the second title in Martin Edwards's second in the Rachel Savernake Golden Age Mystery series, Mortmain Hall (2020).  Again, set in 1930; London for the most part, but other parts of Britain, and other cities show up too.

https://crimefictionlover.com/2020/08/mortmain-hall-by-martin-edwards/

http://martinedwardsbooks.com/

 

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In the last month or so I read the last Morse novel I had not yet read (The Jewel that was ours) which was among the better ones but overall the series seems a mixed bag. It is very well written, plots are often ingenious but sometimes too convoluted and implausible, Morse becomes more and more a cynical caricature of himself and the sexism (for lack of a better term, I usually have hardly any problems with sexism in older (say up to the 1940s) literature) exhibits a particularly creepy and voyeurist vibe that I grew really tired of in the later novels.

Then a little known non-Wolfe book by Rex Stout (The Mountain Cat murders) which was o.k. and both quite different from a typical 1930s whodunnit and from the Nero Wolfe stories but not close to the latter in overall quality. (I had just read the posthumous edition of three Wolfe/Archie stories. These might not be as original as that mystery in Wyoming but Wolfe/Archie and especially the latters narration does make them special. I feel similarly about Jeeves/Wooster vs. almost any other Wodehouse.)

Then even further back to Charlie Chan in the 1920s. I had read the first two in German years ago and now I am at the third ("Behind the curtain", but I skipped the "Chinese Parrot" and read "The Black Camel" before) and they are quite cozy. Not that exciting but reasonably surprising, well written in a rather light-hearted mildly ironic manner, and with interesting aspects of Honolulu/Hawaii in the 1920s at the beginning of becoming a tourist destination. Entertaining and relaxing with a particular atmosphere 90+ years later but maybe not for everyone today. They are free for kindle from australian? sources as Biggers died in 1933 at only 48.

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Tana French's latest, The Searcher (2020).  I wasn't able to finish the previous of her books. The o-so-well-off characters and their precisely described feelings of everything not being just as it was to be expected in their world, expected because of who they are -- the author cared, but I did not.

The Searcher is back to earlier form, and in some ways surpassing the earlier books.  The critics keep saying this is modeled on John Ford's swan song of an era's filmed western, The Searchers, but I did not see it, until close to the end.  So at least I know where the critics found that parallel. That one needs to get to the very end to see is one of the reasons this novel is so very good.  I can almost always predict exactly where things are going, etc. in any genre of fiction (or movie or television show), at this point.  But not in this novel of French's.  This made the reading so satisfying!  I've taken 5 days to read it -- not binging through it either.  It's so well written word for word and composed in rise and fall of action, with lovely rest places now and again, one is happy not to dash through in a single burst, but linger in the world of the novel for a while.

Edited by Zorral

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