Monday, April 22, 2019

2019 books, #26-30

When the dogs don't bark: a forensic scientist's search for the truth, by Professor Angela Gallop [audiobook]. Read by Sandra Duncan. Audible edition.

Newly arrived at the Forensic Science Service after a PhD in sea-slugs, Angela Gallop's first case was one of the victims of the Yorkshire Ripper. During a career both in the FSS and then later in her own company, Forensic Access, Professor Gallop was involved in many of the famous cases, and also in the re-investigation of many of the miscarriages of justice, from the 1970s on.  She talks about the cases, the development of forensic science, the politics of the Home Office/MoJ involvement in the forensic services, and about being a woman dealing with the police in the 1970s and 80s.  This is really fascinating, and I'll probably listen to it again.  Duncan's reading is as good as ever. Coincidentally, I was also listening to the BBC podcast Shreds, about the murder of Lynette White and the Cardiff Three miscarriage of justice, and Prof Gallop was interviewed; the match of her voice and Sandra Duncan's is excellent to the point of being slightly uncanny.

Prayer for the dead, by James Oswald. Kindle edition.

Another DI McLean mystery. A colleague of McLean's perpetual thorn-in-the-side-journalist, Jo Dalgleish, is reported missing and then found dead in a locked cave, surrounded by Masonic symbolism. Meanwhile McLean's friend Madame Rose, a transgender tarot card reader and fortune teller, is being harassed. DS Ritchie is back at work after the events of the previous book and has joined a discussion group at the local church (Mary, the vicar of that church, is a brilliant character.) which takes her into McLean's local area. Meanwhile the disasters which have befallen both McLean's beloved Alfa Romeo, and his previous home, rumble on; as do the extremely strained relationships he has with his superior officers.  I keep reading this series for the people, despite my annoyance with the often supernatural conclusions of the plots.

One was a soldier, by Julia Spencer-Fleming. New York: Minotaur, 2011.

It's been ages since I read a book with Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne; devoured this in a day. Clare is newly back from Iraq; and while her reunion with Russ should be relatively uncomplicated, her experiences in conflict have changed her. She joins a therapy group of similarly damaged veterans at the local community centre, but the group suffers its own tragedies, several of which also involve Russ in investigation; Russ and Clare's relationship is stretched to the limit when they disagree on the cause of a veteran's death. Loved this; it's definitely a series you need to read in order. Sadly, I gather there's only one more in this series so far...

Daisy in chains, by Sharon Bolton. Kindle edition.

Maggie Rose represents men who are unfairly convicted, gets them out of prison, and then writes books about them. Hamish Wolfe is a convicted serial killer, and Hamish's mother enlists her to help get him out of prison.  Maggie is sceptical, as is DS Pete Weston whose actions helped convict Hamish in the first place. And then there's the Wolfe pack, a team of Hamish groupies... This has a twist in the tail worthy of Jeffery Deaver, but there are several along the way. Highly recommended.

Bookworm: a memoir of childhood reading, by Lucy Mangan [audiobook]. Read by the author. Audible edition.

This is a re-listen - but I didn't review it first time round, and that's a shame. It's quite marvellous. Lucy Mangan is a few years younger than me, so a handful of the books she grew up with aren't familiar; but oh, my goodness, the ones which are... from Teddy Robinson to Judy Blume, the family from One End Street to the Chalet School, Mangan looks at her childhood (Northern Catholic fistbump) and her almost total abdication of the real world in favour of books. It's a glorious book which has you laughing, crying, and nodding furiously. If you're a bookworm of a certain age. The reading is great, too - I'm not a fan of writers reading their own books, on the whole, but Mangan does this wonderfully.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Well, these are all going on my wishlist! I agree totally about the Lucy Mangan - I was given a copy when I was recuperating from hospital last summer, and it was the perfect thing to read.