Monday, September 23, 2013

2013 books, #76-80

The chessmen, by Peter May. London: Quercus, 2013.

The final part of the Lewis trilogy; and another very good book.  Fin is now working as a game warden on the local estate and finding one of the disadvantages of local knowledge; one of the trickier poachers is a schoolfriend.  One day, a weird geological event leads to the discovery of a small plane they both know, with a body in it. The body's identified as their mutual friend Robbie, a musician with a now internationally-renowned band, and a man who'd disappeared 17 years before.  But various things don't add up, it's immediately obvious that the body in the plane was murdered... One of the good things of signposting a series of books as a trilogy is that plots from previous books can rumble on, notably the church court case against Donald Murray for the events in The Lewis man.  

Night watch, by Linda Fairstein [audiobook]. Read by Barbara Rosenblat. Rearsby, Leics.: Clipper/WF Howes, 2012.

I've listened to a couple of these so far; this one was very enjoyable for being set partly in Mougins, near Grasse in the South of France.  Fairstein's style's a bit overwrought, but Rosenblat just goes with this in her superb reading, and it's all very entertaining and goes into both New York dining history and the financial business of running a restaurant.

Broken homes, by Ben Aaronovitch.  London: Gollancz, 2013.

Another really excellent book in the Peter Grant series.  I didn't notice whether others have had THE END on the last page, but I'm really hoping this isn't the last book - there's one huge question still to be resolved!  In this one, a mutilated body is found in Crawley, and a town planner goes under a Tube train; Peter and Lesley are led to the Skygarden, a South London estate designed by an insane but idealistic architect and seemingly built for maximum discomfort.  As ever, the ideas are excellent and the plot really works; and it's just incredibly funny.  It riffs off all the fantasy you've read, and all the procedural thrillers, and makes something completely different.  I love these books so much.

Red bones, by Ann Cleeves. London: Pan, 2010.

A young policeman discovers his grandmother Mima is dead; what looks at first like a tragic shooting accident becomes more sinister when Jimmy Perez starts to talk to the family and finds feuding and secrecy. The discovery of bones in a nearby archaeological dig and Mima's reaction to them also comes into play, and generations of secrets begin to be revealed.  This is the book dramatised in the recent Shetland series, which also included a couple of Kate Davies knitted items; the book is much better than that drama, though.

The dark vineyard, by Martin Walker. London: Quercus, 2009.

The second of the Inspector Bruno books; and another good one.  Bruno is called to a fire in a nearby field, to find that the field was being used as a research station for genetically modified crops. Meanwhile, an American wine conglomerate (reminiscent of the Gallo family) is trying to buy up most of the valley to create a new app√©lation, and Bruno is pursuing his relationship with Isabelle, with mixed results.  There's a small element in the unravelling of the plot which I'd quibble with on the grounds of our not being able to make things add up, but it's a minor point...

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