read_warbler (read_warbler) wrote,

A couple of crime titles

My first book reviews for 2017 are two crime stories from series that I started last year or have been reading for a couple of years. Nice to start the year with two reliable authors.

Monastére in the Provence region of southern France is an exclusive hotel converted, as the name suggests, from an old monastry. A large selection of guests has descended including an art dealer, a businessman accompanied by a young woman who is not his wife, a film maker with an American actress in tow and a six strong painting group made up of sundry American, English and French amateur artists. Part of the hotel is home to a famous eccentric artist, Vilotte, known as The Master and practically all of these people plan to see him and talk to him at some stage. After a few days DCI Daniel Jacquot is called in to investigate the disappearance of the woman who accompanied the businessman. There is blood all over her bed but no sign of her anywhere. Jacquot is told not to assume a murder and to quietly look into the situation... in other words to not put out the noses of the important guests. This of course is much easier said than done, especially as Jacquot is not particularly inclined to follow these orders...

Excellent that my second book of 2017 is one I didn't want to put down. This is my second Daniel Jacquot book and both of them have been like this. I can't decide whether it's the quality of the writing, the glorious setting or the fact that the mystery was so good... a bit of all three I think. I had no idea until close to the end who had done what and to whom. And as with the first book there was a nice little twist at the end. There's a bit of romance which works well as it doesn't overpower the story at all and feels 'real' in that there are misunderstandings and difficulties and so on. There are nine books in this series and I'd like to read them all this year. I think the timeline meanders a bit and it's not clear which order the first three or four should be read in but as long as it's not crucial I don't mind that too much. Good series.

Next, Blood Will Tell by Dana Stabenow

It's October in Alaska, Kate Shugak's favourite time of year. She's looking forward to stocking up for the winter and her plan is helped when a moose appears on her land... she shoots it for her larder. The unexpected arrivel of her grandmother, Ekaterina Shugak, is a blessing as she then has help to butcher and store the animal. It takes three days to do this and it's only then that 'emaa' tells Kate why she's there. She's head of the Niniltna Native Association and two of their members have just died... both of them likely to vote with her on a new development project that will affect the local native population. The last thing Kate wants to is leave her cabin to spend weeks in Anchorage. But it's tne annual convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives and her grandmother is sure that Kate could use it to investigate and discover whether the deaths were accidental or something else. Despite her unwillingness, Kate, naturally, has no real choice in the matter... emaa always gets her way.

This is another instalment where we learn more about Kate's Indian roots. The series seems to be split into plots that are either mainly crime based like A Cold Blooded Business where Kate is out on an oilfield or, like this one, Blood Will Tell, where we learn an awful lot about how things actually are for subsistence level natives just trying to hang onto their own land. Plus, how all the various factions in Alaska really work and whose interests they have at heart (their own). To be honest it's a bit disheartening although this book was written 20 years ago so maybe things are better now. Faint hope I suppose. Anyway, as always I enjoyed this, book 6, of the series. There's always such a fabulous sense of place, unsurprisingly as Dana Stabenow lives in the state so knows of what she speaks. The two deaths are almost in the background of this story as we learn about politics in Alaska and watch as Kate deals with her boyfriend, Jack's, fight to hang on to full custody of his son. Not my favourite in the series so far but a jolly good read nevertheless.

Blood Will Tell is my 1st. book for Bev's Mount TBR 2017 challenge.
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