Saturday, June 3, 2017

Crime Fiction Reading in May 2017

The most notable thing about the books I read this month is that they are all written by women. I did not get the idea for this theme until I had read a couple of books, and it was fun choosing my next book based on this criteria.

Books I read this month:

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (1989)
This is the first book in Kerry Greenwood's long running series about Phryne Fisher, a rich young woman who was born in Australia but lives in London as the series begins. A friend of her father, Colonel Harper, asks her to go to Melbourne, Australia and check on his daughter. He and his wife fear that she is being poisoned by her husband. Phryne would prefer traveling and detecting to the boring society events in London so she agrees to take the trip and see what she can do. Set in 1928, this is an interesting look at Melbourne at that time.
Murder in Jerusalem by Batya Gur (2004)
This is the final book in the Michael Ohayon series by Batya Gur. Each book takes place in a particular environment; in this book it is a TV station in Jerusalem, and a woman's body in found in the wardrobe and prop warehouse. The story is more of a psychological mystery than a fast-paced thriller. Murder in Jerusalem was not my favorite in the series, but I enjoyed this last visit with Chief Superintendent Michael Ohayon and his coworkers as they solve the mystery.

Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely (1992)
This debut novel about Blanche White, an African-American housekeeper in North Carolina, won the Agatha Award and the Anthony Award for best first novel. My thoughts on the book are here.

Murder... Now and Then by Jill McGown (1993)
This is the 6th book in the police procedural series featuring DCI Lloyd and DI Judy Hill. Jill McGown is one of my favorite authors. See my thoughts here.

Indemnity Only by Sarah Paretsky (1982)
This description from Goodreads sums it up pretty well: 
The vice-president of a Chicago bank hires V.I. Warshawski to find his son. She's pleased. The head of the International Brotherhood of Knifegrinders hires her to find his daughter. She's not so pleased. Who's the boss in this dangerous game of insurance fraud, murder contracts and gunmen?

The Last Billable Hour by Susan Wolfe (1989)
Susan Wolfe is a lawyer, and in this book she writes about a Silicon Valley law firm filled with sleazy and / or ambitious lawyers. She writes well about this subject; I hope she hasn't ever had to work in such a corrupt  firm. Howard Rickover is an inexperienced lawyer and has only been at Tweedmore and Slyde for a few months when one of the founders, Leo Slyde, is killed. Homicide detective Sarah Nelson enlists his help in uncovering the murderer. I liked this book a lot, even though it is an amateur sleuth mystery, and it is shame that the author did not continue with more books about this pair.

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths (2010)
This is the second book in the series featuring forensics archaeologist Ruth Galloway. Ruth lives in Norfolk in an isolated cottage on the saltmarsh. She is called in as an expert when the bones of a young child are found on a building site. I enjoyed this book and will continue on the the next in the series, The House at Sea's End.


Anonymous said...

You read books by some of my favorite authors: Sara Paretsky, Elly Griffiths, Kerry Greenwood and Barbara Neely.
I have not read the Phrynne Fisher books, only the Corinna Chapman series, but have seen the fabulous Essie Davis play Phrynne on TV. You must see that series.

Clothes In Books said...

You always have such great selections, varied and intriguing. I usually have read about half, so that means I'm inclined to think I'd like the other half. Will you be writing reviews of the ones you haven't covered yet? I read Last Billable Hour a long time ago and loved it - like you, I hoped she would do more.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, you had some excellent choices this month, Tracy. They all present different sorts of crimes and different styles of stories, but they're all quality. Glad you enjoyed them.

TracyK said...

I do remember how much you like Sara Paretsky, Kathy, and I will be reading more of them. Do you recommend reading them in order (because I have #2 and #3 in the series) or are the later books better?

I have had Cocaine Blues by Greenwood for 11 years and finally read it. One motivation is that I would like to try the TV series, but I hear it is very different from the books. I liked this book a lot.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Moira, this was really an interesting month of reading and I got to a lot of books that had been on the TBR pile for years. Yes, I will be doing reviews for all of these books. I have finally accepted the fact that I cannot review everything I read (unless I retire, and that is still a few years in the future). But these books are worth the effort.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Margot. There were definitely more amateur sleuths in that group of books than I would usually read. I was glad I read all of them.

Katrina said...

You remind me that I should get on an read the rest of the Elly Griffiths books, I enjoyed that one. I like the look and sound of the Kerry Greenwood book too.

TracyK said...

I enjoyed both of those books, Katrina, although they are very different. The Greenwood book was not what I expected it to be, and it is well worth a try.

col2910 said...

Looks like a decent month's reading. I ought to try and do an all-female month sometime, otherwise women are woefully under-represented in my reading stats. I have the Neely for a read sometime, plus a different McGown. I always felt I should have persevered with Paretsky, I gave up after one book.

Yvette said...

A good list, Tracy. Three of them sound especially interesting so I added their covers to my books page on Pinterest. It's the only way lately I can keep track of books I want to read.

TracyK said...

That is a great idea for you, Col, to do an all-female month. The first Paretsky book was good but not wonderful, but I have read so much good about her writing, I have to persevere with more books.

TracyK said...

Yvette, I love that idea of saving books to read some day on Pinterest. I have only been on there a short while and haven't gotten the knack of it yet. My husband loves it.

Bill Selnes said...

TracyK: I enjoyed The Last Billable Hour and tried to find out more about the author. My challenges led me to put up a post on "Who is Susan Wolfe?" as I tried to identify her. In early 2016 I learned, after many years, she has written a second legal mystery, Escape Velocity. It was released late last year. You have inspired me to write an update post on finding Susan Wolfe, mystery author, as she now has her own website.

TracyK said...

Good, Bill, I look forward to a post on the author's status. It was your posts on this book and author which prompted me to read this book, which had been on the shelves here for a while.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you have to read the Sara Paretsky books in order. However, I think the books improve as V.W. Warshawski ages. Some books are good, some great.
I'm reading Fallout now, her latest book. It took awhile for me to get into it but I'm enjoying it. V.I.'s sarcasm and wit are getting her into trouble, as is her investigation which takes her to Lawrence, Kansas.
Rlly Griffiths' books should be read in order as a pregnancy, then childbirth, then child-rearing develop and so do relationships among adults.

TracyK said...

That is good to know about Sara Paretsky's books, Kathy, if I have any problem getting the earlier ones. (I do have #2 and #3.) And I will definitely read Griffiths' series in order because of the relationships.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and book 9 ends on a cliffhanger! I am worried that book 10 will resolve that dilemma and then the series will be over. In that case, I'll be very bereft.

TracyK said...

Well, I am far behind you in the series, Kathy, and it sounds like I have a lot of good books to look forward to.