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Madeleine's Reading Log 2023

What have you read this year? Post your list here and update it as you go along! (One thread per member, please.)
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Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5814
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "Black Run" by Antonio Manzini
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime, dual time-frame
Location: Essex/London

Madeleine's Reading Log 2023

Post by Madeleine » Fri January 13th, 2023, 4:52 pm

"Murder at St Anne's" by J R Ellis - this is the 7th book in the Yorkshire crime series featuring policeman Jim Oldroyd, who this time round is investigating the murder of a female rector in her own church, in the picturesque town of Knaresborough. The church is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a mediaeval monk who was executed for heresy, and as the police have no idea what the murder weapon is, some of the locals' stubborn belief that the monk was responsible don't exactly help. There are several churchgoers who had a motive too, several weren't too happy with a female priest officiating, although they liked her as a person, and another one had financial "irregularities" which had been called into question by the murdered rector. But when another kiling occurs, the net of suspects becomes even wider, and it's up to Oldroyd and his sergeant, plus a couple of female officers who, inevitably, get to do all the "grunt" work, to come up with a credible suspect. This was an enjoyable easy read, slightly dry but very reminiscent of a "Midsomer Murders" episode. And the snowy weather - the police officers are forced to spend a rather creepy night in the church due to a blizzard - also adds to the atmosphere. 6.5/10

Loch of the Dead" by Oscar de Muriel - book number 4 in the Frey and McGray series set in late Victorian Scotland, and in this one our two heroes find themselves at a remote house on the shore of a Scottish loch, on two different cases - Frey is helping a young woman who many years ago gave birth to an illegitimate child, whose father was the brother of the house's owner; as usual, he disowned her and the child, but the houseowners, the Kolomans, arranged for her to have the child, and for a local priest to raise the boy, and they would give her a job at the house and ensure that the child was well provided for. Now the boy is of age, but the woman, Millie, has been receiving threats so asks Frey for protection. McGray meanwhile is on his way to visit a holy well on one of the loch's islands, which is meant to cure people of mental afflictions (McGray's sister is currently in a facility on Orkney) and he hopes to take some of the water to his sister. However he happens to be in Thurso, where a murder occurs - the victim is the aforementioned priest, so McGray agrees to escort the boy to meet his family. Therefore we have Frey and McGray under the same roof, and when another murder occurs they have to assume that most of the family are potential suspects - there are the parents ,their twin daughters, their wayward son, his valet, and several staff members. And that's before you get to the other family, who live on the island with the holy well, and who are even more mysterious than the Kolomans, who have some very strange interests and hobbies. It's a tremendously fast-paced story, and although the plot undoubtedly has holes if you look at it too closely, it romps along with several twists, a few gruesome events, strange goings on, and a final thrilling showdown. I stayed up long past my usual reading time as I was so engrossed, and wanted to read on, but at the same time didn't want it to end. A great rollicking read, with some humour and a bit of tragedy too, and the best book in the series so far. Watch out for those bats though! 10/10
Currently reading "Black Run" by Antonio Manzini

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