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Three books

As seems to be the case, more often than not, with me these days, I'm three books behind again. So here goes with another three book post.

First up: The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards.

Some ten years ago a young woman, Emma Bestwick, disappeared in The Lake District and a journalist is pestering DCI Hannah Scarlett and her cold case team to reopen the case. Hannah is reluctant because it could be a simple case of the woman wanting to disappear, not a murder case, until someone starts calling the journalist with new information. Hannah reopens the case and is brought into contact with Daniel Kind again, as it was his father who headed the original case ten years ago. The attraction is still there and not helped by the fact that both of them are having troubles with their relationships with their partners. Hannah needs to employ all her skills as a detective to sort this one and keep Daniel out of her thoughts.

Brilliant. The first two books in this series were excellent and I think this one was even better. Fast paced, full of twists and turns, I just couldn't put this down. I like the use of an unknown narrator in parts of the book; that kept me guessing. I love the Lake Distrist setting but most off all I'm fascinated by Hannah and Daniel's relationship, and certain aspects of that move on apace in this instalment. Loved it and hope there are many more to come.

Next - A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch.

Charles Lennox is an amateur detective in Victorian times. His neighbour and friend, Lady Jane, calls him in to investigate the murder of a former maid who left her service to work for the employer of her fiance. There are many suspects in the house and many secrets that Charles simply cannot fathom. Someone else dies during a ball and Charles has his work cut out to untangle the web of deceit and lies surrounding these murders.

Well, I made it to the end so that says something but 'oh dear'. So many factual errors, implausibilities and lord knows what else really annoyed me about this one. The jacket proudly announces that the author went to Cambridge and (I think) Harvard or Yale. Goodness, if that's the case you would have thought he could have done some decent research into the period and got his facts right. Best sentence, from a British, Victorian, peer of the realm: 'He must've gotten it from the maid!' I actually laughed out loud. Which is a shame because there was a decent mystery here, trying to get out, which is why I did actually make it to the end.

Lastly - Over the Gate by Miss Read.

More about the village of Fairacre and its village school mistress, Miss Read. Includes a ghost story, strange tales of the history of the village and its inhabitants, harvest festival, Christmas, the annual outing to the seaside and much more. Perfect bedtime reading, gentle, evocative, delightful. Bought for a quid in the market in Carmarthen - bargain! - and going spare if anyone wants it.


Oh this is awful, as I've jumped at so many books you've offered, but... I'm on the lookout for Miss Read books, having read the first one just a little while ago and fallen in love with Fairacre, and so if no one else would like Over the Gate... (But if they do, then it must be their turn first!) Ooh, and as it happens I have several books that I might be able to pass on in turn this time - I shall email you with them, in case you've been looking for any of them!

All I shall say about Charles Finch (though you just know I want to say more) is oh dear... *g*
Well, I work on the 'first come, first served' basis - and anyway no one else has asked - so the book is yours with pleasure. I thought it was rather a nice Miss Read to be honest, a good mix of stories. Another one I particularly liked was Farther Afield where she goes on her hols with Amy. I haven't by any means read them all though! Not even close.

Charles Finch. Yes. 'Nuff said, I think...
I'm enjoying the Martin Edwards series. I love the setting. But I wish he'd sort out the unresolved sexual tension between Hannah and Daniel, which is starting to drag -- especially when her boyfriend is so seriously annoying!
Oh gosh, I was sort of hoping that that might be resolved in book 4. Clearly not, so yes I agree, time to resolve that now. 'Seriously annoying' is right. Any boyfriend that wants you to get a breast enlargement needs dumping! Edwards actually has a blog... maybe we should go over there and hassle him. ;-)))
Oh no, I like the Charles Finch books! Perhaps I'm just not versed enough in the period to catch all the historical errors. I definitely concede that the writing style is not the greatest, but I like the plot and characters a lot! Charles Lenox seems like a real, well rounded person to me.

Oh well, though, to each his own! :) The Edwards series sounds interesting -- I'll have to check it out!
As you say, 'each to his own'. I just think it's a shame that many American authors writing books set in Britain, make no attempt to write British English or to get their facts right. Thus, Americans reading it have no idea that what they're reading is sloppy. A few make the effort - Laurie R King, for instance, is amazing, you'd never know she wasn't British. If she can do it, so can others.