Archive for the 'Mystery' Category


Deborah Grabien: The Weaver And The Factory Maid

“Ringan, what a glorious little house this is. Utterly picture-postcard, all E.M. Forster and Beatrix Potter, by way of Merchant-Ivory. This ivy climbing all over the walls is almost too much.”

Ringan Laine, a British folk musician and an expert in the restoration of period architecture, has recently become the owner of a country cottage dating back to the eighteenth century. When Ringan moves in, however, he discovers right away that the cottage and the ancient barn on his new property are haunted.

The shaft of cold, as icy as it was unexpected, stabbed him between the shoulder blades. He was standing in a pool of sunlight, the temperature was over seventy, and he’d just been thinking about opening some windows to cool the place off. Yet, for one incredulous moment, he’d felt as if he’d walked into an ice box. Every hair on his body bristled, and his knees went rubbery. And he suddenly wanted to burst into tears.

Researching the identity of their unwanted tenants, Ringan and his longtime lover, Penny, learn that they were a young couple, victims of a famous double murder in the year 1817. Their story is the subject of a song that is a staple in Ringan’s repertoire. To lay th ghostly couple to rest, Ringan and Penny must stage a full-scale musical exorcism.

If I had realised the blurb was so long, I would summarized it myself!

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, onto my review–or opinion if you’re a stickler.

There’s a lot of lovely language packed into this little book, not flowery but atmospheric. In fact, Deborah Grabien‘s managed the trick of making book feel British–she’s not, though she lived there for a few years, I think.

She’s managed to weave the past and the present together seamlessly, and the characterization’s pretty damn good. I want to see more of Ringan and Penny!

It’s not my usual kind of thing–I don’t often read mysteries any more and I got this only because I’m interviewing Deborah–but I’m definitely getting the next book.

This rates 3.5 out of 5.


Tamara Siler Jones: Valley of the Soul

More Lars…oh, Lars… Yes, I’m obsessed with Lars. And I think Jesscea is one very very lucky girl.

Some might think that tightly written isn’t the right word for a book that is over 400 pages long. But it is a perfect adjective for Valley of the Soul.

One of the things that has most impressed me so far is that Tambo manages to keeps the series fresh, while taking us a deeper into both the psyches of the main cast and the world she has created.

May there be many more Dubric books.

This rates 5 out of 5.


John Donohue: Deshi

This is the second book is Donohue‘s Burke-Yamashita series.

I read the first one, Sensei, and didn’t like it, but I picked this one up at the library anyway.

It’s better. It’s more polished and the sentences are less clunky. The book ties up better, with less loose ends too, as I remember it.

But the real reason why I reviewed this book was to share with you this description by Connor Burke, in whose point-of-view this book is written from, of his brother the cop and his partner:

they hovered for awhile like mad wizards over a Xerox machine

For some reason, it struck me as hilarious. Hey, there are worse reasons to review a book, like to pan it!

This rates 7 out of 10.


Leslie Silbert: The Intelligencer

I picked this book up because I liked the blurb–plus it had found its way on to my Wish List. 

It's switches between 16th century London and now.

I thought this book was going to be dry and slow to read. It surprised me, though. It wasn't slow, though I'd not term it a page-turner either.

Silbert can write. Think Kate Mosse's Labyrinth, not DaVinci Code. 

I did figure out who the modern-day villain (well, the one who wasn't named anyway) was, about half-way through the book. That's a big Minus for me. 

I also felt she didn't quite get across the motivations of the various characters. She sure didn't cap off Kate's Big revelation at the end of the book. According to her site, it looks like it's going to be a series featuring Kate (the lead character), but it should have been done. 

The historical parts were better done than the modern-day sections. It's not the research, I simply felt that they were better written. Or rather, Silbert's voice and style is better suited to historical sections. 

Worth a read if you have the time or are a fan of Christopher Marlowe.