Our group post this month is designed to share some of the books we’ve recently read and enjoyed. Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.
Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson: I’ve been rereading Lindsey Davis’s wonderful Marcus Didius Falco mysteries. I read each one once before, when it first came out, but since that’s a couple of decades ago for most of the entries, I’m able to enjoy that feeling of a first-time read all over again. Falco is a Roman “informer” in the reign of Vespasian, and his adventures take him all over the Roman empire, even to Britain, which Davis, who is English, enjoys poking fun at for its barbarian ways. Since the narration is “translated” into modern English, Falco bears a strong resemblance to a typical hard-boiled detective at the start of the series, but he mellows into a more traditional sleuth (and a family man) as it continues. I’m currently reading #16, Scandal Takes a Holiday, first published in 2005.
For variety, I’ve also read several new releases, including James R. Benn’s Proud Sorrows (World War II setting, but this time taking place in an English country house rather than at the front), Charlaine Harris’s All the Dead Shall Weep (part of a series set in an alternate universe where it is still sometime in the early twentieth century and the U.S. has been broken into five separate countries), and J. D. Robb’s Payback in Death. The latter is the latest in her long-running series set in the not-too-distant future. The detective is police lieutenant Eve Dallas. Like all the “in death” books, it is fast paced and twisty, but justice triumphs in the end.
John Clark just finished The Name Drop and A Multitude of Dreams and has several others in various stages of being read.
Maggie Robinson: The fourth installment of Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club books came out last week, and I read The Last Devil to Die in two nights. These books are exceptional, multi-point-of-view, kind-of-cozy-yet-not-at-all-cutesy, with numerous laugh-out-loud moments. This one made me cry a bit, too, and I won’t spoil why. They are set in a posh British retirement village, and the four main characters (“pensioners”) are diverse in background and very real; Osman does an excellent job getting into all their heads and bringing us along. The supporting characters–and they are characters–are very well-drawn too. You can start with Book 4, but it’s far more fun to see the clever, crazy situations that begin it all in Books 1, 2, and 3. Highly, highly recommended.
Matt Cost just had the pleasure of reading Aventurine On the Bailgate by Anne Britting-Oleson. There is nothing worse than writer’s block unless you count theft, murder, and being framed for all of the above. Looking for inspiration that will open the floodgates of creative thought, Aventurine stumbles into a friendship that leads to a missing woman who might be her doppelganger, albeit ten years younger. In quick succession, there is a murder, a theft, a sexy detective, a former lover, the arrival of her friend, the spy, and things spiral rapidly out of control. Anne Britting Oleson sets the skillet to sizzle, adds a variety of ingredients, spices it up a bit, and lets the heat do the work to cook up a plate of intrigue, mystery, desire, and chicanery.
Kate Flora: In the car, my husband and I are listening to the Mick Herron Slow Horses series, which I’m really enjoying. Sometimes the plots feel slow but I love his witty writing and have become attached to his Slow Horses characters. Also just finished listening to S.A. Cosby’s All the Sinners Bleed. His writing is so powerful and dark and daring. In the world of fiction that isn’t mystery, Abraham Vergese’s The Covenant of Water, because I absolutely loved his book from twelve years ago, Cutting for Stone. Readers beware, though, if you like to read in bed, because it is a 700 page tome and may crush you. Friends tell me that he narrates the audio version, so that might be a better choice.
Of course, we are very curious about what you are reading, too, so please share in your comments.