Sunday, April 1, 2018

Reading Summary for March 2018

My reading summary for March follows. It was a very good reading month.


Non-crime fiction books read:


Blackout (2010) by Connie Willis
The longest book I read in March was Blackout by Connie Willis, and it was nearly 500 pages and only half of a book. I had read that Blackout and All Clear formed one book together, but I did not realize that Blackout would end with such a cliffhanger. Given that, I won't say much more about this book but will wait until I have completed All Clear in April. The basic and brief summary for this book is that time travelers are visiting various sites during World War II, and a good portion of this book is set in London during the Blitz. I enjoyed the book immensely, had a hard time putting it down every night, but I did have some quibbles with it.


And the list of crime fiction read in March:

A Murder Is Announced (1950) by Agatha Christie
This is the fourth Jane Marple mystery novel and my fourth read in that series in the last few years. I loved it and now it is tied with The Moving Finger for my favorite Miss Marple story. The story is set in the small English village of Chipping Cleghorn. A murder announcement is placed into the Personals section of local newspaper and everyone assumes it is a clever invitation to a murder party. However, the group that gathers witnesses a real murder. Miss Marple is called in to help with the investigation. 
The Black Seraphim (1983) by Michael Gilbert
This is the fourth novel by Michael Gilbert that I have read, and it is my favorite so far. The Black Seraphim and Close Quarters, Gilbert's first novel, have the same setting, the Melchester Cathedral close. Otherwise, there is no connection between the two, and this one was published 36 years after Close Quarters. My review here.

A Small Death in Lisbon (1999) by Robert Wilson
This book has two story lines, one set in the 1940's in Germany and Portugal, the other set in the late 1990's in Lisbon. The later time line features a police detective whose investigation of a teenage girl's murder links back to the experiences of a Berlin factory owner forced into Hitler's SS in 1941. The story is suspenseful and compelling, the characters have depth, but there was too much violence and sex for me. This book won the CWA Gold Dagger in 1999. 
Murder Must Advertise (1933) by Dorothy L. Sayers
The eighth novel in the Peter Wimsey series. I have always considered this my favorite mystery by Dorothy L. Sayers, so I was glad to find that the story lived up to my memories of it. My review here.

The Lisbon Crossing (2006) by Tom Gabbay
I deliberately chose to read this book shortly after reading A Small Death in Lisbon because I wanted to see how the two books compared. This story is much lighter and very picturesque. Jack Teller is a US citizen visiting Lisbon with international film star Lili Sterne in 1940, to help her locate a childhood friend, Eva Lange. This is the 2nd in the Jack Teller series and each book is set in a different city and time period. 
Recalled to Life (1992) by Reginald Hill
This is the 13th book in the Dalziel and Pascoe police procedural series. The story takes us back to a crime committed in 1963 at a local manor during a house party including government officials and diplomats. A nanny implicated in the murder is released from prison 30 years later and Detective Superintendent Andrew Dalziel, who was a junior officer at the time, investigates the crime further, against the orders of his superiors. As usual, this is a compelling novel by a master storyteller.

Free Agent (2009) by Jeremy Duns
During World War II, Paul Dark was a young British agent, recruited by his father. At the end of the war, he took part in a mission to hunt down and execute Nazi war criminals. Twenty five years later a Russian defector turns up in Nigeria and reveals some information that makes him doubt everything he has been working for since the war. Paul goes to Nigeria to track down the truth. A very enjoyable spy story, the first of a trilogy, and along the way I learned a lot about Nigerian politics and history.


16 comments:

  1. That's an *excellent* reading month in my opinion. I'd read any of those books. Connie Willis really must feature in my reading sooner rather than later. I've shifted To Say Nothing of the Dog closer to the top of Mount TBR...

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    1. Cath, So far my favorite Willis book is To Say Nothing of the Dog, although I really can't say until I finish All Clear. Definitely entertaining and fun. Although I have read that she gets some of the terminology wrong.

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  2. I agree with Cath - you had a great reading month. I have meant to try Connie Willis' books for many years. I'll watch for your review of Blackout and All Clear soon. And A Murder is Announced is one of my favorite Christie books. I've read it several times.

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    1. I can never remember which Christie books I read before, Kay, but this one was very good and I did not suspect how it would end at all. Fortunately the Connie Willis time travel books are easy to review, and I am sure I will review them soon.

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  3. A very good reading month for you, it seems. The only one I've read is the Christie.

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    1. I did not realize until now how many of my books this month were related to World War II, Rick. It was a good mix of books this month.

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  4. You did have a fine reading month, Tracy. I like the way you vary among crime novels, thrillers, sci-fi, and other things.

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    1. I have been tending to vary the types of mysteries I am reading, Margot, and it isn't really intentional. I guess I need a balance in levels of tension in my books.

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  5. Great reading month, Tracy! All the books sound good. I’ll have to check out Willis.

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    1. I have enjoyed all the books I have read by Willis, Peggy. But they are long.

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  6. Sounds like you had a good month, Tracy. Probably only a couple I'd read myself - Wilson one day and the Duns which I'm pretty sure I've already read.

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    1. I remember that you had the Duns book in your buckets, Col. You should definitely try Robert Wilson someday.

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  7. I'm still dithering about more Connie Willis...
    I love Recalled to Life: that and Picture of Perfection are really excellent books in the D&P series.

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    1. I will have to dig that next Reginald Hill book out of a box soon then, Moira. Recalled to Life was a fantastic read.

      I don't know what to tell you about Connie Willis. I did finish All Clear and the two books together (at 1100 pages plus) were a wonderful book. But if you had problems with To Say Nothing of the Dog, this one might not be your cup of tea.

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  8. I love Connie Willis and I loved BLACKOUT, but...I can say no more. We'll chat after you finish the second part. My favorite Connie Willis books are DOOMSDAY BOOK, PASSAGE, TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG. Wonderful stuff. A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED is probably my favorite Miss Marple book even if the plot is unusually far-fetched. Love it anyway. Must read THE BLACK SERAPHIM by Gilbert - I'm very fond of his work but I seem to have skipped this one. Thanks, Tracy.

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    1. I did finish All Clear last night, Yvette, staying up too late again, and I loved it. The ending was perfect.

      I agree with you on A Murder is Announced, it is implausible, but Christie kept me entertained and in suspense.

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