Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Madeleine's Reading Log 2024

What have you read this year? Post your list here and update it as you go along! (One thread per member, please.)
Post Reply
User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5853
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Heron's Cry" by Ann Cleeves
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime, dual time-frame
Location: Essex/London

Madeleine's Reading Log 2024

Post by Madeleine » Sat January 6th, 2024, 2:02 pm

The Harbour Lights Mystery by Emylia Hall - this is the 2nd book in the Shell House Detectives series, I haven't read the first one but found this fairly easy to read as a stand alone, as the author does do a few updates. The story is set in and around the Cornish fishing village of Mousehole, and our detectives are Ally, a widow in her mid 60s, and ex cop Jayden, who has moved down to Cornwall from Leeds, having left the force following the death of his partner. It sounds like the Detectives are still finding their feet, but they can't help investigating when a local chef, though originally from London, J P Sharpe, is found murdered in Mousehole, not long before Christmas. Then the pub where he works is burnt down, though no one is injured, and a mysterious letter found in his pocket points towards a local connection, but it turns out that JP has a rather chequered history, and not many people are that sorry to see the back of him. Could someone dear to both the detectives be in danger, or are they in danger themselves? After a slow start, this picked up pace and the last part was quite gripping, and I thought the book was quite well-written, though it could have been a bit better paced, especially in the first half. I'm intrigued to read the first book now - I read this one as a Christmas read - and there's also a 3rd book due out in March. 7/10

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone - this is the first in the series about the Skelf family, who run an undertaker business in Edinburgh, coupled with acting as private investigators. The book starts with the sudden death of Jim, the patriarch, and is subsequent unorthodox ie illegal cremation in the back garden! Rather too much detail here, but afterwards the women in his life - his widow Dorothy, their daughter Jenny and her daughter Hannah - try to pick up the pieces of their lives and carry on both businesses without him. But when Dorothy starts to go through his papers, she finds payments of several hundred pounds being made every month, for several years, to an unknown woman. Meanwhile Jenny, unemployed and divorced and back home with her mother, takes on a seemingly straightforward PI case, following a man whom his wife suspects of having an affair. Hannah too has an investigation of her own - when her flatmate and fellow student Mel suddenly disappears, she finds herself opening up a can of worms (literally in some of their cases) as she discovers more about her seemingly hard-working, studious friend. Then there's also the case of the missing employee, who disappeared suddenly several years ago. So several storylines, but the book is well written and divided into fairly short chapters focussing mainly on each of the 3 women, so the different strands are easy to follow, though by the end I was starting to think that maybe there were too many coincidences. As it has a distinctly morbid tone, and is rather gruesome in places, I can't say I enjoyed it overall, but the characters are all engaging, and Edinburgh is well-described, making it almost a character in it's own right. I will definitely read more of the Skelfs, but it is rather depressing at times so maybe not to everyone's taste. 7.5/10
Currently reading "The Heron's Cry" by Ann Cleeves

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5853
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Heron's Cry" by Ann Cleeves
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime, dual time-frame
Location: Essex/London

Re: Madeleine's Reading Log 2024

Post by Madeleine » Sun February 4th, 2024, 2:22 pm

February

"A Shetland Winter Mystery" by Marsali Taylor - this starts off in a fairly light mood, with sailor Cass Lynch on dry land for once, as she's on a break from sailing for Christmas,and is back on Shetland at the cottage she has moved into with her policeman boyfriend Gavin and two cats. In the run-up to Christmas, it seems that many residents have been visited at night by trowies, little folk who live in mounds in the hills, and come down to cause mischief. Tiny footprints lead up to doorways and windowsills, and then lead away from another window, or a catflap, but no harm is done. Cass suspects the local children,and for a while it all bowls along, until a teenager goes missing, and then another young man is found dead on a beach -are the two cases connected? Events then become more serious, although towards the end of the book so many people, especially the female characters, did so many silly things that I started to get a bit fed up with the tired cliche of a character heading into danger, when all they had to do was go to the police. Having said that, it was very readable and passed the time well enough. 6.5/10

"Whispers of the Runes" by Christina Courtenay- 6.5/10
Currently reading "The Heron's Cry" by Ann Cleeves

Post Reply

Return to “Member Reading Logs - 2022”