Mystery, Uncategorized

British “Whodunnits” Recommendations

Image result for british whodunit books

I love British mysteries. As much as I like the mystery thrillers that are all the rage in the US these days, since Gone Girl came on the scene and made so much money, the true love of my life are the simple mysteries that are not complicated and are straight forward. Books that are just simple, delightful reads like the ones I used to read when I was younger. I think the British have this market cornered, nobody does great whoddunits like they do and I’m here to give you some recommendations to add to your already huge summer piles.

1. Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas

“Do not undervalue what you are ultimately worth because you are at a momentary disadvantage.”

This series is a good retelling of the original Sherlock Holmes with the difference being that the protagonist is a 19th century woman. Observing her surroundings and advising the police department and Queen’s Men while hiding her real gender from the world and her clients. The first book in the series is called “A Study in Scarlet Women”, the second one is “A Conspiracy in Belgravia” and the third one which comes out on the 2nd of October is called “The Hollow of Fear”. All the titles are a subtle nod to the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They don’t take themselves too seriously and I really enjoyed reading them.

2. Cormoron Strike series by Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling 

You’re like everyone else, Strike; you want your civil liberties when you’ve told the missus you’re at the office and you’re at a lap-dancing club, but you want twenty-four-hour surveillance on your house when someone’s trying to force your bathroom window open. Can’t have it both ways.” 

J. K. Rowling writes these books under a pseudonym. These are really easy to read fun mystery novels  with the usual tropes. There really isn’t anything original about these books but they are written well and the characters are very fleshed out. Cormoron Strike is a wounded army veteran with a troubled past, terrible love life and financial woes.  He leaves the army and sets up his own private detective agency but has the nagging  problem of having no paying clients. He hires a temp secretary who has ambitions of being a private detective herself – Robin Ellacott, gets a high profile case and the rest is history. At the end of each book we get to know more about our two main characters and come to care deeply about their welfare. There are three books already published in this series and she’s currently working on the next one but still no release date available.

3. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

“As far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat a good whodunnit: the twists and turns, the clues and the red herrings and then, finally, the satisfaction of having everything explained to you in a way that makes you kick yourself because you hadn’t seen it from the start.” 

This is a standalone mystery book and is a mystery within a mystery. Editor Susan Ryeland gets Alan Conway’s latest mystery novel and doesn’t think it’s going to be any different than his previous novels except Alan Conway dies the very weekend he submits the novel – of a suicide. Susan Ryeland rushes to read the manuscript to rush production of the books but finds the last couple chapters of the book missing and we’re off to the races. This book was quite fascinating because we get to read the submitted manuscript and also deal with the mysteries in real time surrounding the missing last chapters and the death of the author. This is a nod to the golden age of mysteries so if you love reading Agatha Christie’s works this book is definitely for you.

4. An Accidental Death (DC Smith #1) by Peter Grainger

“You think it’s just selfishness? ‘just’ makes it sound trivial. All crime is caused by selfishness, I say. It’s the ‘me first, my needs first’. Take that away and you’re like one step from paradise”

Even though there are 7 books in this series, I have only read the first one which is what I will be recommending today. This British police procedural opens with the apparent accidental drowning of a sixth form student, it’s an open and shut case so it gets handed to Detective Sergeant Smith. Detective Smith is just coming back from suspension after an internal investigation involving a previous high profile case that caused a lot of tension in the police department. He is handed the small cases to ease him back in, but it ends up being a murder case. The latest trainee detective to work with him is the son of a member of his former team, and together they begin to unravel the truth about what happened to Wayne Fletcher. If you’re a fan of cozy mysteries or Louise Penny, you’ll probably like this too.

Have you read any of these books? Which ones are you likely to read? Let me know in the comments!

Leggy

 

Mystery

Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Image result for sharp objects gillian flynn

Ever since the Gone Girl movie blew up a few years ago, Gillian Flynn has become a household name and her books have been carried over to screen (Dark Places was turned into a movie). Next in line is Sharp Objects. It’s been turned into a mini series on HBO starring Amy Adams. I read the book a few years ago and I figured it’ll be good to share my thoughts, in case anyone was thinking of reading before its debut on July 8.

Sharp Objects tells the story of Camille Preaker, a crime reporter who has been assigned a job to go back to her small hometown and write about the murder of two young girls. Going back home means facing the demons she has not quite put to bed seeing as Camille has just been released from a psychiatric hospital. She has to deal with her mother who she does not have a good relationship with, her step sister who she barely knows and dredge up old (not so great memories) while still being professional.

I have not liked any of her other books like I did Gone Girl but if you know anything about Gillian Flynn, then you know that the common theme in her books are that they go to some really dark, twisty places. I truly often wonder where her ideas come from as they are so gory! Don’t ignore the razor blade on the book cover as it is an indicator of Camille’s issue with self cutting and pretty much tells you the tone of the book. It is not an easy book because it deals with some intense topics that some might actually find triggering.

I am not sure there are any redeeming characters in this book save for maybe Camille’s father figure boss, except he is a minor character. Every character is rather grating and you just want to roll your eyes every time they do something. For a whodunnit book, you get to have an idea who did it towards the end and even though I did not guess correctly who did it, I don’t think it will be difficult for some to figure out who did it but the twist might be a surprise.

Overall, there are many reasons to read this book – Flynn is a good writer, get a head start on the miniseries, challenge yourself to read a book that doesn’t go down easy and because Taynement says it’s worth a shot.

Let me know if you do read it or if you have read it. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Taynement