Monday, December 2, 2013

Mysteries in November and Pick of the Month

Only five mysteries read in November. Last year that would have been a typical month for me, but this year I had been averaging nine books a month, and most of them mysteries.

These are the crime fiction books I read in November:

Bones and Silence (1990) by Reginald Hill is the eleventh book in the Dalziel and Pascoe police procedural series.

Hard Currency (1992) by Stuart M. Kaminsky is the 9th book in a series featuring Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov, a police investigator in Moscow, and the team that he works with. When the series started, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was still in existence. This book, published in 1992, and the previous one, Death of a Russian Priest (reviewed here) address the changes in Russia following the dissolution of the USSR, and specifically how this affects this police team.

The Midas Murders (1996) is the second book in a long series of police procedural novels by Pieter Aspe. Aspe is a Belgian author and the books were originally published in Belgium. This is only the second novel in the series to be translated into English and published in the US and the UK.

The Last Clinic (2012) is a novel set in Jackson, Mississippi, the capital of the state. Police Detective Darla Cavanaugh has come to the Hinds County Sheriff's Department from the Philadelphia Police Department and is an outsider. She is investigating the murder of Reverend Jimmy Aldridge who was shot while protesting abortions in front of a health clinic. It is Gary Gusick's debut novel, and I think he has done quite well.

Instruments of Darkness (1995) by Robert Wilson is a thriller set in Benin, West Africa. This is a very dark novel about corruption and evil. Much as I enjoyed reading this novel, I don't often choose to read books of this type, with so much violence and hopelessness.

My favorite mystery this month is Hard Currency. I liked that it was set in both Cuba and Russia, at a very interesting time in the history of those countries.

Rostnikov and one of his staff, Inspector Elena Timofeyeva, go to Cuba to investigate a murder; Rostnikov has been told that it will be "convenient" if he finds that the Russian citizen accused of the murder to be guilty. The situation gets more complicated once they are in Cuba.

Meanwhile, there are two other investigations going on in Moscow, carried out by the remainder of Rostnikov's team: Emil Karpo, a very scary, very serious man nicknamed the Vampire; and Sasha Tkach, a younger member of the team. One case is related to the death of a visiting foreign minister from Kazakhstan. The other is a very difficult case involving a serial killer. At this time in Russian history, those in power do not want to admit the possibility that such a criminal exists in their country.

The Crime Fiction Pick of the Month meme is hosted at Mysteries in Paradise. Bloggers link to summary posts for the month, and identify a crime fiction best read of the month. Check out the link here to see the other bloggers picks.

14 comments:

  1. A really good mixture of elements there TracyK and I think the Wilson is one that I might think twice about picking upas it souns like you really have to be in the right mood for it!

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    1. Yes, Sergio, have to be in the mood. It isn't that I don't want to be aware of hopeless situations like the ones in undeveloped countries, I just don't choose that for my leisure reading.

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  2. Tracy - A very nice selection! And I can't blame you for choosing the Kaninsky; I think that's a very well-done series.

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    1. Thanks, Margot. The series set in Russia is my favorite Kaminsky series, but I hope to get to his other series soon too.

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  3. Five books read last month. Not bad. I haven't forgotten about the Kaminsky title.

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    1. Keishon, I just picked up a couple of e-books in another series by Kaminsky in the cyber Monday sale. Just have to find more time to read.

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  4. Tracy, impressive titles and numbers. Five to six books is my monthly average too. I've got to stop counting and start reading more!

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    1. Prashant, I only worry about the numbers I am reading because I have some reading commitments in December and January. After that I will relax.

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  5. Tracy, a decent month's reading. I think I will try Kaminsky at some point and I have already taken the plunge on Dalziel and Pascoe. There goes another good intention out the window!

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    1. Col, I am definitely glad you got the Dalziel / Pascoe book. And hope you like it.

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  6. A great list, Tracy and your winner is a book I've not heard of. Looking forward to your December reading.

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  7. Thanks, Sarah. My December reading is off to a great start.

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  8. Nice collection there Tracy, I've only read one (the Reginald Hill) but you am interested in some of the others. Onwards to the December books!

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    1. Not too many books but I enjoyed them all. So that makes it a good month.

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