Saturday, March 5, 2016

Reading Summary for February 2016

I read a wide variety of books this month but the total was not very high. Not that this is a competition but I do usually like to read at least five or six. I have lowered my goal at Goodreads this year to 52 (to make more room for reading short stories) so four or five a month is a good average, and I did meet that.

I did read one graphic novel, The Secret Service: Kingsman.

Summary at Goodreads:
A British secret agent feels guilty about never spending time with his deadbeat sister and takes his wayward nephew under his wing after he's arrested in the London riots. The boy is heading straight for a jail cell until his uncle steps in and tries to give him a new life, training him to be a gentleman spy.
It was an interesting concept, but there wasn't a lots of depth. I will be watching the movie adaptation and then reviewing them together.

Now for the four crime fiction books I read this month:

Web of Deceit by Katherine Howell

Although this is the sixth book in an eight book series, this is only the third book by Howell that I have read. I read the first two books, Frantic and The Darkest Hour. (I liked all three of them.)

From a post at Petrona:
In one sense, the books are police procedurals, as Detective Ella Marconi and her colleagues investigate the crime that forms the basic plot of the book. In another sense, the books are “slice of life” dramas about the city’s paramedics, given great authenticity by the fact that the author was a paramedic before she became a full-time writer.
Maxine also mentions the pacing in the books, which is the element that drew me in when I read the first book. And I forgot to mention that Howell is an Australian author and the book is set in Sydney.

13 at Dinner by Agatha Christie

13 at Dinner is the seventh novel featuring Hercule Poirot. It was first published in the UK in 1933 as Lord Edgware Dies. Poirot is approached by the well known actress, Jane Wilkinson, to mediate for her to convince her husband, Lord Edgware, to give her a divorce. She states very openly that things would be much better for her if he was dead. A couple of days later, Lord Edgware is murdered. The rest of the book has Scotland Yard Inspector Japp and Poirot following leads to discover the murderer.

This was not my favorite Agatha Christie book but it was still very entertaining. Hastings narrates the story and there are lots of interesting characters. My full review here.

What is Mine by Anne Holt

This is serial killer book about the abduction of children, not the kind of book I normally seek out. And, to tell the truth, I don't know if I knew the subject when I bought it (10 years ago).  But, even so, I liked the book a lot. I liked the way the story was told, and I liked the characters. The setting in Norway is also a plus. So this one was a winner for me.

What is Mine was the English language debut of Anne Holt, a Norwegian author, and the first book in the Vik and Stubo series. Several novels in the Hanne Wilhelmsen series were published prior to this one in Norway, and most of the books in both series have now been translated into English and published in the US and the UK.

Kissing the Gunner's Daughter by Ruth Rendell

This was Ruth Rendell's fifteenth Inspector Wexford book, and it has a very good reputation. Based on reviews I had read, I had very high expectations, and unfortunately was disappointed. Not to say that this was a bad book; we are talking about Ruth Rendell here. As usual, Ruth Rendell is a good storyteller and very adept at creating interesting characters. Except for the policemen, the characters were not very likable, but that is fine. My full review here.

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.

My pick this month is What is Mine by Anne Holt. I will be reviewing it soonish, but for now you can check out Bernadette's review at Reactions to Reading and Rebecca's review at Ms. Wordopolis Reads.


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Tracy, I hope to brush up on my Agatha Christie this year; maybe read some half a dozen novels at least. I have been missing her mysteries.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy,

I will make sure to add this Anne Holt title to my tbr mountain. I read your great review of the Ruth Rendell book and I must admit to preferring her psychological suspense novels or thrillers and am happy I have more of them in to read in future. As for Kingsmen: The Secret Service, I felt the movie was uneven and the risks it took didn't pay off or fell flat. My opinion only. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Anonymous said...

Nice choices, Tracy, both for your reading, and for your pick of the month. I need to spotlight one of Anne Holt's books sometime!

TracyK said...

I would like to read more Agatha Christie novels also, Prashant. Possibly add in some short stories by her, too.

TracyK said...

I am reading another Anne Holt right now -- Blind Goddess-- and not enjoying it as much. However it is her first book. As for Kingsman, I have heard it is different from the graphic novel, and I like some of the actors, so am curious.

TracyK said...

I would love to see a spotlight on an Anne Holt book at your blog, Margot. I always learn a lot from those posts.

Peggy Ann said...

Ooh and I have an Anne Holt on the shelf! Looking forward to it for sure!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Your reading exceeds mine this month. I am getting slower and slower. Reading ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE took me the entire month.

col2910 said...

Quality over quantity. I've not read any of your "Feb" authors. Probably not rushing to either, I'm afraid.

TracyK said...

I bet you will like it, Peggy.

TracyK said...

Patti, I try not to be competitive (with previous months' reading) but it happens anyway. And when I take longer to read a book (as I have with the last few) I sometimes lose the thread of what is going on and have to backtrack. I do read slower now than in the past.

TracyK said...

You are right, Col, there was a lot of quality there. I am sure there must be a Rendell book you would like, but not the Wexford ones. Although you have surprised me in the past.

Clothes In Books said...

I saw the film of Kingsman - which was OK - but had no idea it was based on a book....

TracyK said...

Kingsman is the type of movie we usually enjoy without being very judgmental about quality or whatever. So I think it will be fun. How it compares to the graphic novel I am not too sure. Trying not to read too much about it before watching.