Saturday, April 7, 2018

Six Degrees of Separation from Memoirs of a Geisha to Blue Lightning


The Six Degrees of Separation meme is hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavoriteandbest. The idea behind the meme is to start with a book and use common points between two books to end up with links to six other books, forming a chain. Every month she provides the title of a book as the starting point.

It is not a requirement that the books be ones I have read, but this month I have read all of the books in my chain.

The starting point this month is Arthur Golden’s bestseller, Memoirs of a Geisha. I have not read the book, and I will be interested to read what others have to say about this book, as there was controversy surrounding its publication.

Moving on to my first link, I chose to go with another book set in Japan. The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino is a crime fiction novel first published in 2006 in Japan, then translated to English and published by Minotaur Books in 2011.

Yasuko Hanaoka is surprised when her abusive ex-husband Togashi shows up at her apartment. He wants money from her and threatens both her and her teenaged daughter Misato.Togashi ends up dead, strangled. Yasuko’s next door neighbor, Mr. Ishigami, offers to help them dispose of the body. Of course, once the body is discovered, the police consider Yasuko one of the suspects and life becomes very tense for Yasuko, her daughter, and her neighbor.
https://bitterteaandmystery.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-devotion-of-suspect-x-keigo.html

This book is an inverted mystery; the reader knows from the beginning who committed the murder. Thus the story focuses on how the murderer is discovered.

My next book in the chain is The Suspect by L. R. Wright, another inverted mystery. In this book the murder takes place at the beginning of the novel and we know who did it. At eighty, George Wilcox murders a man, and this story is as much about why the murder was committed as how.

This was the author's first mystery novel, and we are introduced to Staff Sergeant Karl Alberg of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The novel is set in Sechelt, which is on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada. It is character-driven, slowly develops the relationships of the main characters, and has a cozy feel. The Suspect won the 1986 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel of the year. It was the first Canadian novel to do so.

For my next choice, I link to another book by a Canadian author, but in this case the action occurs in France during World War II. Kaleidoscope by J. Robert Janes is set in Occupied France, in December of 1942. It is the story of two men who are on opposite sides but must work together. Gestapo Haupsturmführer Hermann Kohler and  his partner, Sûreté Chief Inspector Jean-Louis St-Cyr have been thrown together by circumstances to investigate crimes.  They have developed a trusting relationship, but know that due to the realities of war, it will probably not end well. One side or the other will be the victor, and then where will their loyalties lie? This is the third book in a series of 16 books.



Another series that centers around World War II is the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr. The series begins in 1936 in Berlin, and features plots that show Bernie's experiences before and after World War II. In The One from the Other, the fourth book, he is a private detective in post-war Germany who takes on some missing person cases with connections to ex-Nazis. Before the war he was a policeman. He had served in the military in both World War I and World War II.

Philip Kerr was a Scottish author who died in March 2018.

My next book is also by a Scottish author, Peter May.

The Blackhouse (and the other books in the trilogy featuring Fin Macleod) are set in the Outer Hebrides, an island chain off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The book is worth reading just for the setting.

Description from the dust jacket of my edition:
When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides that bears the hallmarks of the work of a similar killer on the Scottish mainland, Edinburgh detective and native  islander  Fin Macleod is dispatched to investigate, embarking at the same time on a voyage into his own troubled past.




Next I move to the Shetland Islands, a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies northeast of Great Britain.

My favorite book in the Shetland series by Anne Cleeves so far is Blue Lightning, the fourth book in the series. DI Jimmy Perez has gone to Fair Isle with his fiancée to see his parents. A reception honoring the couple is held at the bird observatory on the island. The next day, Perez is called in because the leader of the institute has been murdered. Perez is on vacation, of course, but the island is socked in due to weather conditions and there is no one else to handle the situation. I liked the depiction of the birding community and the claustrophobic feel of not being able to get off the island or get help in.




So my journey in Six Degrees of Separation has taken me from Japan to Scotland, via Canada, France and Germany.


28 comments:

  1. I love that you found a route from Japan to the Shetlands. Brilliant. I've read the last two books which were excellent. Not read Memoirs of a Geisha but I know many people have including my husband.

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    1. I was pleased with ending up with the Shetland series, Cath. I have not read past Blue Lightning yet, but I am sure I will. I am aiming at reading more of the Vera series first. The Memoirs of a Geisha sounds interesting, I think I would enjoy reading it.

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  2. I really like your choices, Tracy. You really chose some authors I think are very talented. And you've got a clever way to relate them.

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    1. It is fun seeing how the relationships turn out, Margot.

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  3. Excellent chain and now I have 2 more authors for my Canadian Book Challenge TBR list. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I am sure you will like both of them, and especially The Suspect.

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  4. Very interesting indeed. The only authors of your list I've read are Cleeves and May. Must try more.

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    1. All of the authors I listed here are very good, Rick. Some are a bit grittier than others.

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  5. I've read far too little Canadian crime fiction, so thank you for the idea!

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    1. I have found a lot of Canadian crime fiction that I like, Marina Sofia. For two or three years I did a Canadian book reading challenge and learned about a lot of new authors.

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  6. Oh, I loved your chain!! It was perfect for me - you created it for me, right? Ha! I've read the Geisha book and, of course, The Blackhouse (over and over). Cleeves' Shetland series is on my list for later this year. I think I've got a copy of the Suspect X book, unread as yet. And I'm making note of the others. Perfect suggestions to add to my list of 'one day' books. Thanks so much!

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    1. I hope your list of "one day" books is not as long as mine, Kay. I don't know when I will get to them all. I did think of you when I was adding The Blackhouse. I really have enjoyed reading about life on the islands off Scotland. Although I don't think I want to live theme.

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  7. Great job this month!! Kaleidoscope sounds very, very good. Thanks

    Lisa @ https://hopewellslibraryoflife.wordpress.com/2018/04/07/six-degrees-of-separation-memoirs-of-a-geisha/

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    1. Thanks, Hopewell. Kaleidoscope is very good at giving a picture of occupied France during World War II. I have more of the books, I need to read them soon.

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  8. You are well-travelled this month! I like that your links vary so much, from structure, to nationality of authors, to historical time setting, to geographic connections.

    AND you reminded me that I want to start Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series. THanks!

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    1. This one was fun, Debbie, because I have been focused on reading from a variety of countries this year. The Bernie Gunther series is well worth reading and I want to read more of them myself.

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  9. I see you're having fun with these....and they're books that you have or have not read? --Keishon

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    1. It has been fun, Keishon, it is like a puzzle but one I have control over. These are all books I have read, and this time all have appeared on the blog.

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    2. I missed that you mentioned that and plus you linked to each one. Can you read the Bernie Gunther books out of order? --Keishon

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    3. Keishon, I think you can read Kerr's books in any order. From what I have read the books jump around in time (I have only read the first five). Some people say to read the first three first and in order. Sometimes I put so much time between reading each book that I might as well read out of order.

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  10. TracyK: I was almost able to say I could put together the same reading trail. I loved The Suspect and have read the opening trilogy of Bernie Gunther books and have read the first book in the Shetland series and loved reading The Blackhouse. It is an All-Star collection of crime fiction!

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    1. They are all really good books, Bill. I am looking forward to reading more books by those authors.

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  11. Cleverly done, Tracy, I love your chain!

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    1. Thanks, Moira. An international group of books.

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  12. What an interesting idea. I like it! Was it challenging to make the connections?

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    1. J.P., it was more fun than challenging. It does take me time though, because I can't do anything fast. And I dither over choices.

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  13. Omigosh: I actually read four of these books, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Devotion of Suspect X, The Suspect and The Blackhouse.

    Suspect X is a very gripping psychological study and investigation of a murder.

    The Suspect is L.R. Wright's first book and a good one with much empathy. I read a few more in the series, but none were as good.

    And Peter May's Lewis trilogy: I liked all of them, wanted more of the books and to visit the Hebrides. Read three in a row, was not happy to turn the last page.

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    1. I will be getting to more of the Lewis trilogy sometime soon, Kathy. Suspect X and The Suspect were both very good. That is funny... I did not even notice before that the titles were so similar. The books are very different.

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