Ellis, J. R. The Quartet Murders.

Seattle: Thomas & Mercer, 2018.

This is the second in a reasonably enjoyable new police procedural mystery series set in Yorkshire, featuring DCI Jim Oldroyd, an old-style Yorkshireman through and through (even with his Oxford degree) and his young Detective Sergeant recently transferred up from London, but who is coming to prefer the Dales to the Smoke.


Published in: on 30 August 2019 at 3:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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French, Nicci. Tuesday’s Gone.

NY: Penguin, 2012.

I greatly enjoyed Blue Monday, the first installment in this superior series that combines British police procedural with psychological thriller and semi-domestic drama, and this second one is even better. Dr. Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist in London, a stubborn and often bloody-minded woman who only recently acquired a cell phone (it’s nearly always turned off), both loves and hates her city, and frequently spends the night walking long distances alone as a way of dealing with her own demons.


Griffiths, Elly. The Ghost Fields.

Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2015.

This is the seventh in an above-average series of murder mysteries featuring forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway of northern Norfolk, and it’s a good deal spookier than most of the previous books. Because of its location, Norfolk hosted a number of Allied airfields during World War II, and there were the expected number of crashed aircraft and lost pilots, so it doesn’t really surprise anyone when an earth-moving machine uncovers a buried P-51 Mustang near the beach while leveling the ground for a housing development.


French, Nicci. Blue Monday.

NY: Penguin, 2013.

This is the first in a new (well, new to me) mystery-thriller series set in London and featuring psychoanalyst Dr. Frieda Klein, who has nearly as many personal boogeymen as some of her patients. She’s a loner, doesn’t own a cell phone, and tries to relieve her frequent insomnia with long night-walks through the city. (She especially likes to trace the course of the underground and nearly forgotten River Fleet.)


Indriðason, Arnaldur. Reykjavik Nights.

NY: St. Martin, 2015.

I’ve read several of this author’s novels about homicide detective Erlendur Sveinsson of the Reykjavik CID, and they’re pretty good — in a rather dour, classically Scandinavian way. But this is the first one in a new sub-series about Erlendur’s early career, set in 1974, when Iceland celebrated the 1,100th anniversary of its first settlement. He’s a young cop in uniform, mostly handling traffic incidents, driving a police van around town on call on the night shift.


Moriarty, Liane. The Husband’s Secret.

NY: Putnam, 2013.

I recently read Moriarty’s best-selling Big Little Lies and was very impressed with the way it just sucks the reader in so completely, so I began tracking down her other books. This one is equally hypnotic in its deeply involving plot and multifaceted characters, and once you’re a couple chapters in you won’t want to stop until you finish.


Ellis, J. R. The Body in the Dales.

Seattle: Thomas & Mercer, 2018.

It’s always nice to discover a new author of detective novels, and this is the first in a new series — set, like several other such series, in the wild countryside of Yorkshire. Though it’s not as wild in the Digital Age as it used to be, when DCI Jim Oldroyd was a lad. He was educated at Oxford but he’s still a Yorkshireman through and through. His new Detective Sergeant, Andy Carter, however, has just arrived from London and the Met, and he’s finding that his Italian shoes don’t do well in the sheep pastures. But Oldroyd thinks he’s going to work out just fine anyway.


Rankin, Ian. In a House of Lies.

NY: Little Brown, 2018.

Rankin’s detective novels featuring DI John Rebus of the Edinburgh CID are consistently well-written and entertaining and there are now about two dozen in the series. Rebus actually has been retired for a few years now, but he’s still a detective by his very nature, despite age and emphysema, and he keeps up with what’s happening in that side of his city that the tourists never see. And he never forgets anything.


Perry, Thomas. The Burglar.

NY: Mysterious Press, 2019.

Perry has written more than two dozen crime thrillers, and they tend to follow a pattern: The main character (who isn’t always a “protagonist,” really) lives and operates either outside the law or just on the very edge of it, and, in addition to the formal plot, the reader learns in great, often technical detail how he or she does things. One assumes that Perry does a huge amount of research before starting each new book, because his descriptions and discussions of the minutiae of various kinds of crime do seem credible. The problem is, the actual plot and the methodology of the narrative aren’t always up to the same level.


Published in: on 28 May 2019 at 5:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Brody, Frances. Dying in the Wool.

NY: Little Brown, 2012.

“Brody” is actually Frances McNeil, author of four previous novels and numerous radio plays and television scripts for the BBC. She’s a native of Leeds, in the vicinity of which her first mystery novel is set. It’s all about family secrets and the author says the character of war widow Kate Shackleton “sprang to life from our family album.” And it’s worth a read.