This is quite the event. Sophie Morrison, a young doctor, goes to a house to treat a patient. She doesn't realize when entering that the house contains a pedophile and his difficult father. Word has reached the street that the pedo lives there and residents are demanding his removal. The demands turn into a mass demonstration that threatens to get ugly.
Meanwhile, Sophie is stuck inside with the father making threats, both oral and physical, and she has no safe way out. On the outside, the mob has gotten so large that it endangers many people. An unlikely hero arises.
Angel Falls is the name of a place (fictional). It is where Mikela Campbell falls from a horse and goes into a coma. Her nine-year-old son, Bret, watches in horror as it happens.
Mikaela (aka Mike) has been married to Liam Campbell, a doctor, for ten years, and has built a happy life in the small village of Last Bend, where she is much loved by her family and by others. She was married before, and her daughter Juliana, called "Jacey", came from that marriage. Mike has said little about the former marriage and husband.
While hunting for a dress for Jacey, Liam discovers a secret: that Mike had been married to Julian True, famous actor, well known as a heartthrob. In their marriage, Mike had been known as Kayla.
The revelation shakes Liam. He has long known that his love for Mike is greater than hers for him, and she had admitted carrying a torch for this lost lover.
Liam is urged by Mike's mother, Rosa, to talk to Mike about their life. Liam goes further, surrounding her with mementoes of their life together. He talks to her every day, and when he discovers the name of her former husband, he talks about Julian. But lo! Mike reacts to the name.
In hopes of bringing Mike back from the coma, Liam contacts Julian True and asks him to come see her. Full of himself and highly successful, Julian nevertheless still harbors an affection for this first wife and he agrees. From here on Liam manages to walk a tightrope: he recognizes a special love Mike has for Julian while at the same time he hopes that she can somehow see past it to her present family and be content.
So. We suffer along with Liam and the rest while Mike lies there. Gradually waking. We listen to her thoughts, disjointed and lacking in context, as she emerges from the coma with her memory of the past fifteen years gone.
For me it was a long, slow, annoying emergence, filled with platitudes and prayer. I didn't understand how a young woman, however poor and isolated, falls for an empty shell of a man just because he promises wealth and a better life. As a young woman, Mike was intelligent and thoughtful. It seems contrary to her character that she would fall for Julian. This is the act of a flighty dreamer, and Mike was never that. So I just didn't buy it, and further did not buy her undying love for him after they parted. What was the attraction, once she had been with him? Was she blind? I just found it so hard to believe.
Easier to believe was Saint Liam's devotion to her. Although it is rare for someone to be so giving that he would let his wife walk away in order for her to be happy, it does happen, and it is the signature of real love. Liam risks all because he does know how to love.
To me, it was just too slow and sappy and dredged with religion. But I can see how it might appeal to others who are, in fact, religious.
This is a lovely little compilation of character studies. We get to know the people in a small village by listening in on their lives. There are moments of hope, of sadness, of just keeping on. I wasn't stunned by the whole book but by some moments in it.
It was such a pleasure to read one of Marsh's mysteries again. I first read these when I was in my teens and was struck by the development of the characters, especially of detective Roderick Alleyn. It was a further pleasure to discover that this is the book when Alleyn meets Agatha Troy, artist.
The two first meet on a cruise, and there is awkwardness on both sides. Later, when both are home and a murder happens in Troy's studio, Alleyn realizes he has not forgotten the artist.
It is something of a classic mystery, with a set of suspects, almost a locked-room situation, so the detective and his trusty Fox focus on the students who were living at the studio. When I read this I had to remember that many of these detective stories from the 30s-50s take place in old British manor houses, houses with many bedrooms and with servants. So it is here. Plenty of room for everyone.
The victim is a live model, killed in a way that limits the number of suspects considerably. But there are always possibilities that someone is not telling the truth and is thus messing up the timeline.
While investigating the murder, Alleyn makes some efforts to be professional yet not unapproachable to Troy. In this he mostly does not succeed. She misreads his signals and he hers. It is rather classic in that respect as well.
Overall, satisfying and, for me, does not suffer from its age.
In the midst of severe flooding, two young teens (13 and 15 years old) and their caretaker go missing from their home in a small city in England while their parents are away for a few days. Their mother insists that they have drowned and the local police accommodate by calling in Subaqua, a team of underwater searchers. Chief Inspector Wexford believes the drowning theory is flawed but his superior officer insists on focusing resources on it and nowhere else.
Thus time is wasted that could be spent doing a more fruitful search.
Initially, Wexford suspects that the caretaker, Joanna Troy, has for some reason abducted the teens. His investigation centers on who she is and what she has done in the past. He also is interested in young Giles Dade, the 15-year-old teen, and his conversion to an odd fundamentalist church. But his work is cut out for him as he encounters character after character who do not seem to be telling the truch.
As is typical with Rendell books, we are treated to a wide range of persons and motives for their actions. We also get to know Wexell's feelings about his own daughters and their choices of mates, as these stories do not stay only with the case.
All three missing persons are found and a case of possible murder is developed.
Eventually Wexell threads his way through and puts it all together and the right persons are arrested. But only after getting inside many people and getting to understand why they do what they do. Rendell has a deep understanding of psychology and does not stick with simple characters. Each book adds to our understanding of Wexell as well as of human nature in general.
Things went bad for Willliam when he chose to move back into his parents' house. He relied on his mother to help him when he had these attacks, the attacks of what we now know as Tourette's Syndrome. He had been living on his own but lost job after job when he spewed offensive language when stressed. His girlfriend finally called it quits... and he reacted badly, irreversibly.
Meanwhile, a well-known feminist speaker dies from poison. There seem to be connections between the two incidents.
Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley investigates. He sends DS Barbara Havers and DS Winston Nkata on various pursuits. Havers is on thin ice these days, because of previous actions. Superintendent X has curtailed her moves, insisting that she not be on her own ever, and has pressured her to look more professional. The pressure from above has taken a lot out of Barbara, to the extent that Lynley worries that she will no longer take leaps of faith and imagination in her investigating. She will no longer be the brilliant detective she can be when freed.
We suffer along with Barbara as the case develops and results in a conclusion that many will not expect.
I like memory stories. Our memories are strange and we rely on them so much. I was looking forward to a feeling in this novel that expresses the confusion and horror of not remembering, day after day. I didn't get that.
Christine suffered a trauma that left her without her memory. Over time she regained enough so that she could remember events during an awake time, suggesting that she was capable of using her long-term memory. But then she would go to sleep and wake up not knowing where she'd been for the last 20 years.
But she began to put some things together, thanks to the help from a head doctor she started seeing without telling anyone else. She would wake in the morning, frantic, wondering who she was sleeping with, then later, when she was alone again, get a phone call from the doc. He would explain that she had a journal hidden and she could read up and write more. Through this journal (the bulk of the book) she records each day's events and revelations.
It's a good way to tell the story. I had difficulty with how it seemed that by reading previous entries Christine remembered those events. When we know she didn't, really. The journal gets quite long, too, and I wondered how she read so much every morning. And what was her husband thinking that she did during the day? It was a mystery to me that he would leave her with nothing to do at all except once or twice ask her to pack a suitcase or wash something.
In time, Christine's memory gets jogged by this or that and she notices inconsistencies in what she has been told. Who is lying?
In the end, it is a good plot, I felt, although strange. I just didn't get a real psychological buildup from it.
A bit of a disappointment. I was looking for a psychological thriller, something with twists and interesting characters. Flawed characters in the lead role. This isn't it.
We know from the start that Grace has married a psychopath, someone who lured her with his charm, then turned the tables on her. Jack enjoys watching others suffer while presenting the image of the perfect husband to the world.
Grace is not able to reach out to others, as she is a captive in her luxury home, confined to a small bedroom with no phone, no way out. She is held captive as much by Jack's threats against her sister Millie as by physical means.
Millie has Down Syndrome. In this novel the author uses the outdated term "Down's Syndrome". Perhaps in Britain the term has not yet changed? Millie also speaks in sentences without articles, as a rule, similar to how some people speak when first learning English. I wasn't able to confirm exactly how children with Down Syndrome normally speak, but what I read suggests that the greater problems are with the production of sounds, a physical limitation, and that these children tend to speak in shorter sentences. Not that they use "Indian-speak" as demonstrated in older western movies.
There are other aspects of Millie's character that seemed off to me as well, although i am not an expert.
Jack is a lawyer in a firm. His job is to represent women who have been battered by their husbands. I know that the legal systems in the US and Britain differ, but not fundamentally. In the US, no private lawyer "represents" the victim; it is the job of the prosecutor to prosecute the accused. When Jack "wins" a case the husband goes to jail, which says to me that he should be a prosecutor, but he isn't. It is details like this, that show that the author didn't do much research, that bother me.
But back to the story. We know from the start that Grace is kept hidden "behind closed doors", and both she and Jack present a united front of a happy marriage. Much of the book is a series of "this happened" then "that happened". Illustrations of how cruel Jack is and how Grace tries to escape. The episodes don't seem to build, although they do show us that Grace is trying to escape.
Things come to a head when Jack plans to have Millie move in and then to torture her. Grace is pressed for time to do something about it. Does she succeed??
The character of Jack is one-dimensional. Yes, he is a good actor, playing the part of the caring law partner and husband, but essentially he enjoys cruelty for its own sake. There is nothing interesting about this, nor is there any basis drawn to explain it. Grace is the plucky victim. She isn't particularly interesting either.
Overall, it works to while away the hours and moves enough that it kept me reading to the end. Others clearly enjoyed it more than I did and I expect and hope that others who read this copy do enjoy it.
Another winding journey for our heroes - D. I. Thomas Lynley, Deborah and Simon St. James, and D.S. Barbara Havers. Lynley is called in for a private discussion with his superior, Sir David Hillier, during which he is introduced to Hillier's friend Bernard Fairclough. Fairclough had an unusual request: his nephew Ian, who worked for him, had died in an accident in his boathouse. The coroner had determined that it was an accident, but Fairclough wanted to be absolutely certain because of succession issues in the firm. The request was confidential, and even Lynley's immediate superior, Isabelle Ardery, was not to know.
Thus, with considerable misgiving, Lynley enlisted the help of his friends Simon and Deborah St. James and the three of them set out for Cumbria, scene of the accident, post-haste.
In Lake Windemere (in Cumbria), Lynley met with Fairclough and the two took a look at the accident scene. It was dark and the previous investigators had not looked for the stones that got loose, causing the accident. Lynley knew eventually he would need to find a way to bring in lights and get in the water to find the stones. His friend Simon was a forensic expert and would assist.
In the next several days Lynley and his "team" did their best to appear to be just visitors while they met members of the family and extended characters. While they worked forensically they also investigated motive. A wide range of interesting persons, including a reporter for a scandal sheet, came into the picture. And we don't just get a tiny bit of their stories, because this is Elizabeth George. What I love about her work is that it is messy the way real life is. And I tend to get attached to at least one or two of the new characters, while remaining attached to Lynley and especially DS Havers.
Thus we have 677 lovely pages of life, of lives, twisting and turning every which way, with many events having nothing to do with the original accident. One of the lives was more secretive than the rest, and ultimately I believe this is the reason for the title.
One thing I found odd is that this book was published in 2012 yet I wonder about one of the online searches that is integral to the story: DS Havers is set on the hunt for a certain person who originally came from Argentina. She finds many web pages written in Spanish. Much time is spent finding a translator. Yet for many years it has been possible to translate web pages with the click of a button. Not perfect but certainly better than plowing through with an English-Spanish dictionary. I suspect that George does not do as much searching as I do, but what about her editors? It's a curiosity. Not a biggie, certainly, but odd.
I confess to a perhaps unnatural fascination with "true crime" stories. I have read many, from the very good to the unbelievably bad. But that isn't the primary reason I wanted to read this book.
When I visited a special motel in Desert Hot Springs one year the owner told me that Steve Hodel had been there and had told him his story about the Black Dahlia (Elizabeth Short) murder. The motel owner (a friend of mine) was highly enthusiastic about Hodel and his book. I decided to get it some day, in large part because of that endorsement. That day came when I saw that it was available through paperbackswap.
Hodel is a retired detective from the same police force that investigated this murder years before he joined. His experience as a detective led me to believe that his research and analysis would be sober, thorough, and logical, even though it focused on his father.
It's a thick book, full of details and exhibits and what the author refers to as "thoughtprints" - his way of connecting dots. His use of these thoughtprints bothered me a bit because they are a way of relying on assumptions more than on cold hard evidence. I recognize that the type evidence he obtained was not direct (photographs, memories, notes with odd references, newspaper articles) and it was necessary to try to piece together the meaning from them, but I felt he went from finding this type evidence to drawing those conclusions and then referring to his conclusions as fact. It seemed odd that a detective would make such leaps.
From the beginning I wondered about his decision to do this investigation without aid of LAPD files on the subject. He made several assumptions about their availability but did not actually make the effort to obtain them until after the book was published (this version of the book is the expanded version and does include information from LAPD files). His explanations, that he no longer has the connections to the department that he once had, didn't convince me. In his place, if I had the other materials that he unearthed and so carefully labeled and reproduced, I would have been hungry for confirmation of my conclusions, hungry enough to see how far I could get in looking at those files.
Another block to my own ability to buy Hodel's story whole is the writing itself. I am sure the editors worked slavishly to make it readable and to organize it. Sometimes, though, you reach a point where you have to say "enough" and let it go out in the world. I suspect this is what happened. The book is repetitious, oddly organized, and difficult to wade through. It got to the point where I set it down after reading just a page or two, then picked it up later to continue slogging on. A better writer might have been able to put it together better and make a better case with the same facts.
Hodel may well be right in many of his assumptions, and the case he made for a "coverup" in the years surrounding the Black Dahlia murder and early investigation, is convincing. In fact, the case he makes against his own father as the murderer is worth serious consideration. I do quibble with some of his reasoning:
He draws a portrait of his father as a man who used women and then discarded them (except for his last wife, who hung in for 30 years). Yet when Steve Hodel creates a possible motive for the killing of Beth Short he assumes Short agreed to marry Hodel and when she later jilted him he became enraged and killed her. The two pictures of George Hodel don't match, in my opinion.
I also found Hodel's "evidence" that his father's longtime friend, Fred Sexton, also took part in some of the murders Hodel attributes to his father unconvincing. One part of the evidence is a photograph of Sexton compared to a police sketch of a perp seen by a witness. The drawing shows a man with a prominent widow's peak, while Sexton has none and has a high forehead. I can't buy that they are the same man.
All of which does not mean that I don't believe Hodel's basic conclusion that his father killed Elizabeth Short. It seems very possible and even likely. I am less convinced by what he trots out as the other murders also committed by his father.
I am frustrated that all his work did not lead to an official investigation, a circumstance that clearly befuddles Hodel as well. At one point he took his findings to a DA in Los Angeles county offices, a person who could in fact find reason to call for an investigation. The chapter is titled "Filing My Case with the District Attorney's Office". Yet he did not officially file the case there. Instead, he contacted a member of the office whom he knew, gave him the information, and requested an "as-if" memo. The DA knocked out a several-page memo stating that he would file it if it were real. Why didn't he file it for real? I didn't get a good answer to that either.
A near-exhausting hunt that, for me, turned up almost as many questions as answers.
Aldo Bruno, architect, and his wife Camila, psychotherapist, attend a dinner party in a fancy part of Rio de Janeiro. When they have to leave they encounter rain, so Camila stays inside while Aldo runs for the car, parked in a cul-de-sac at the end of the street.
Later, they learn that a homeless man had been shot in that location, and Aldo was one of two persons from the party who might have seen what happened.
Homeless people rarely are seen in this rich enclave, and this one was particularly memorable because he had only one leg and got around with crutches. He would have a time climbing the steep hill to get where he was found.
Inspector Espinosa is on the case. He wonders why the dead man was there in the first place, and why anyone would want to kill him. He interviews anyone who was in a position to offer any information, including Aldo Bruno and his wife.
Bruno confesses to his wife the next day that his memory blanked out, and he did not remember what he did from the time he left the dinner party until he picked her up to go home. It worries him because it wasn't the first time he had memory gaps. Camila isn't worried, suggests that this happens to everyone from time to time. But Aldo does worry.
Worse, Aldo does not want to admit his memory loss to anyone else, so he makes up a story to tell the police. A plausible and possibly true story but he just doesn't remember it.
Aldo's office focuses on interior design rather than architecture. He has an assistant and a couple of interns, and they keep busy. Camila's practice is successful as well, although she comes from money and thus it is likely that neither actually has to work.
As Aldo grapples with his memory and Espinosa struggles with the little he is able to glean from visitors, residents, and workers in the area, there is another death. This one hits far closer to home for Aldo and he is swimming in confusion.
Full of intrigue and interesting twists, I enjoyed it. I did guess one of the critical aspects of the puzzle but that did not prevent me from enjoying the trip.
More than the story of one 14-year-old African-American boy who lost his life for saying a few unwelcome words to a white woman, this exhaustively researched tale takes us from Emmitt Till to the civil rights movement and up to today. Yet with such a wide breadth of coverage it is also very personal.
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old from Chicago who was excited about staying with his uncle in Mississippi for the summer. He wasn't there long, though, before he made the mistake that led to his death. In a little family-owned store he made some remark to the young woman at the counter and she was insulted by it. We can't say for certain what he said, as she later admitted that much of what she testified to in court was not true. Much later, though.
Carolyn Bryant waited until she was advanced in age before speaking publicly about what happened and what she had told others. Even then, as far as she could go was to say that what happened to Emmett should not have happened.
Carolyn, the young woman, told her family what the young black boy had said to her and suggested that he had touched her as well. Two men then took it upon themselves to find the boy and teach him some manners. They took it much farther than that, beating him with such viciousness that his body, when found, was not easy to identify.
And here is where the story really begins. For in Mississippi in the early 1950s it was still common for African-Americans to be "lynched" for supposed crimes, many of them not crimes at all. "Lynched" in this case is a generic term for a killing done in vengeance, usually an African-American killed by a European-American.
It was common but Till's mother was determined that it not be swept under any rugs, not ever forgotten. She insisted that her boy's body be brought back to Chicago rather than buried in Mississippi, and she insisted on an open-casket at the funeral. She went further, notifying people she knew would spread the word, and spread the word they did. Without her actions we would likely never have heard of Emmett Tlll.
Thus he takes his place among the early cases that spurred the civil rights movement. Tyson takes us through many of the others and up to today, placing them all in context. It is more than a simple history, though. It is emotionally charged and inspiring. A must-read.
A beautiful woman is found, naked, thrown upon the rocks near the sea, below Houns-tout cliff in southern England. She had drowned and somehow been tossed by the waves on a rocky area not easily accessible by foot. She is found by a couple of boys who then tell a young man who was hiking in the area. A garbled message is sent to the emergency services, resulting in a helicopter hovering above the body in an effort to rescue the woman. She is beyond rescue.
Also on the scene is a young woman on horseback and soon PC Ingram, who secures the scene and takes note of his surroundings.
The dead woman, Kate Sumner, is the wife of an older man who seems, alternately, distressed by her death and yet quietly cold about her. Many people in the small community believe Kate was bored with her marriage and with the small community to which the couple had moved. Some thought she might have been having an affair.
There turn out to be no lack of suspects, and each one is seen as the likely one until another is. It's enough to make a reader dizzy.
The investigation involves a few police detectives along with PC Ingram, who seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Each has something to offer and ultimately the answer is found. But not without quite a few twists and quite a few characters.
In some ways this novel reminded me of Agatha Christie's works, rather like an updated Christie, as it focuses a lot on characters and even has a bit of a love interest. Both Christie and Walters have senses of humor, and that humor is not lacking here. A thoroughly enjoyable classic detective story.
Inspector Gamache gets to return to Three Pines. I wonder sometimes if he ever stays in the big city. Or maybe he only gets to work in the sticks.
A dead man is found in the bistro owned by Olivier Brule. Nobody is able to identify him, but we readers know that Olivier knows something about him. The man looks quite old but well-kept. His clothing is of good quality and is cared for if old. It turns out that he is only in his fifties but looks 20 years older. Gamache wonders what has gone on in the man's life to cause him to age so much - and to be murdered.
Olivier is part of the core group of friends who have met with and gotten to know Gamache over the years. He is a friend of Gamache's now as well. It is not beyond the inspector, though, to consider him as a suspect.
Of course nothing is simple. There is the old house up on the hill, where previously bodies have been found. It has been purchased by a couple who live there with the man's mother and who are converting it into a luxury hotel and spa. This competition does not sit well with Olivier, who fears his B&B will suffer as a result. There is antipathy between the two as a result.
Other suspects are added to the list as more is learned about the dead man and what he has been doing of late. Assisting the team is a young local policeman, who very much wants to become a homicide investigator eventually. Gamache's experience with subordinates has been good, with few exceptions. Will this be another find? Or a disaster? Jean-Guy suspects the latter.
The investigators prowl the woods as well as some homes before closing in on the presumed killer. The usual gang is very much present and we follow Clara Morrow as she prepares for a big showing of her art - with some unexpected results.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (of the Surete) is pulled into a strange case while taking a leave of absence. An amateur archeologist, bent on discovering the grave site of the founder of Quebec, is found murdered in the basement of the Literary and Historical Library, an old and treasured library of books in English. The local police ask Gamache's informal assistance. Although he tries to stay out of it Gamache cannot help himself. His mind churns endlessly, searching for answers.
Meanwhile, he is haunted by memories of a recent confrontation with the kidnappers of a young subordinate. Bits of the final scene and the hours before it play in his mind like a tape, stopping and starting seemingly without his control. His broken memories gradually reveal to us the mistakes he made and the consequences of his actions, as well as those of others in command, until we finally get the full picture.
But that isn't all. A previous case has been kept alive in his mind as well. The partner of a convicted man remains unconvinced of the guilt of his friend. He writes a note to Gamache every day, asking "Why did he move the body?" When Gamache finally decides the case deserves another look, he sends Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir in to Quebec to investigate quietly, informally. Neither man is particularly convinced that they got the wrong guy, but Beauvoir is willing to do his best to find out.
These three cases run alternately through the book, to the setting of Quebec and particularly Old Quebec City. I did have to pay some attention to the description of this lovely city and to think about visiting myself some day. Or at least looking at it in Google Earth. For Ms. Penny seems determined to impart some of her own love of the city to the reader.
We learn, too, of the uneasy alliance between the French and English in Quebec, where the English are a decided minority. Although their fighting times are long over, memories seem to span generations.
An interesting introduction, for me, to Chief Inspector Gamache. I felt I got to know him a little in this long book, to know his heart, as well as that of his mentor and a few of his subordinates. The case of the dead archeologist turns out to take many different turns, while Gamache does a great deal of reading at the Lit and His and beyond. I am wondering how he behaves in more familiar stomping grounds now.
Usually when there is a woman detective in fiction, she is thirty-something, fit, healthy, beautiful. It is always - ALWAYS - refreshing to find someone who does not fit that mold. Vera Stanhope, created by author Ann Cleeves, is a middle-aged, chunky woman who doesn't care how she dresses but does care about getting at the heart of any mystery. Enter now another elderly detective, Hazel Micallef. Hazel has even more bad habits than Vera and cares so much about getting her man that she is willing to destroy her career in the process.
Hazel is interim commanding officer of a small police force in Canada. She has to fight just to keep the force in existence, rather than be absorbed by larger big-city forces that detect from afar. Very little happens, as a rule, in her bailiwick, but that doesn't mean Hazel's powers have diminished from disuse.
A friend of Hazel's mother's, Delia Chandler, is found dead, her throat slashed and much blood surrounding it. But there is something strange about the scene. Delia is very pale. There are other indications that this is not simply the act of a person in a rage. In fact, Hazel believes, it is carefully planned to look more reckless than it is.
When she learns that Delia was drained of her blood Hazel and her small team know they are looking for an unusual killer. When a second death turns up that is equally suspicious but that takes place in another jurisdiction, Hazel doesn't hesitate to take it on, approved or not.
Hazel is in her sixties, overweight, and given to drinking too much. She is divorced but maintains a reasonable relationship with her ex. She lives with her elderly mother, who is determined that Hazel develop healthier habits. Thus she plies her with egg white omelets and similar treats. Hazel is not interested, and finds her way to other sources of food once she is out of the house.
Hazel can also be prickly and difficult, but she's capable of appreciating talent when she sees it. Thus she has a few loyal team members, including the "new guy".
The team sets to finding out what this killer is after and where he might be going next. The investigation is on shaky ground from the standpoint of the higher-ups, but that does not stop it. There is something particularly disturbing about this killer and Hazel is determined to find him.
Meanwhile, we do get to meet the killer. Unlike in other novels where the killer's thoughts are exposed and we know him to be a first-class nutcase, this one is described in third-person, rather than first, and there are no italics. I found that refreshing even though I find this type of organized killer way more organized than any in the real world would be. I was more than willing to suspend disbelief as the suspense built up to quite the climax. I worried that I might not get to meet Hazel again but lo! There are three more books in this series - so far.
Ines is a high school student who has never fit in. She leans toward being antisocial and doesn't do all that well in school. Yet she is accepted into the esteemed Catherine House. This institution is known for producing graduates who reach high levels of power in the world. Successes. Yet these former students never talk about their experiences at the school. The mystery is as much an attraction as the academic legacy.
Ines is thrown a bit by the rules. Students are required to commit to three years away from the "real world". No phones, no visits outside, rare chances for even a phone call home. The students are isolated, actually fenced in. The buildings and grounds are, however, beautiful, and the students accept the limitations for the greater rewards they expect later.
Ines actually makes a few friends, which is rare for her. She is not consistent in her studying, however, and is sent to "the tower" to recharge. The Tower is not punishment, they say, but students sent there are locked in for several days or even longer, until they feel ready to get back in the game.
Ines is not stupid but she knows she is not a top academic, so it confuses her when her mediocre work is praised. She also realizes that all of the students are in some way misfits. And that some of them choose to stay on, to work in the famed research lab or to teach.
As in most schools, Catherine House has its share of tragedies. Ines's roommate, "Baby", is one of them.
Over time Ines becomes increasingly curious about what is really going on. When she starts to have an idea, she is holed up in the tower again.
The story ultimately leans toward fantasy, sci-fi. I don't as a rule care for these genres, and this one left me shaking my head. I honestly don't know what to make of it.
A competently written cozy mystery, featuring nonagenarian Victoria Trumbull.
In this case, Victoria assists the police chief in discovering who has buried a coffin that does not contain a body and how it was later allowed to be dug up. The cast of characters is large and the suspects many. In the end, Victoria outfoxes the clever criminal.
It is enjoyable to read of a detective who is advanced in years but not in mental deterioration, who admits to needing to sit down more often than she used to but is as sharp as ever.
Set in the 1930s, this mystery reveals much about the city of Danzig at that time. The city was created after WWI as part of the terms of the Treaty of Versaille. The city-state included Danzig plus about 200 villages and towns in the surrounding area. The area was inhabited primarily by Germans but was cut off from Germany to give Poland a large seaport. It was overseen by the League of Nations, a fledgling organization at the time.
Much of the action in the story takes place in Dublin but Detective Stefan Gillespie traces the origins to Danzig. In his hunt for a missing woman and for the killers of a man and a woman found in Dublin mountains, Gillespie falls for the friend of the missing woman.
It becomes clear that the so-called "free city" is becoming less and less free, as Nazi forces grow in influence there. The danger reaches out, trying to engulf the detective and his new love interest.