Five of the Best: May 2011 – May 2015

This was originally Cleo’s idea ‘“ see Cleopatra Loves Books.It’s to look back over your reviews of the past five years and pick out your favourite for each month from 2011 ‘“ 2015.

I really enjoy looking back over the books I’ve loved reading. These are my favourite books for each May from 2011 to 2015 (click on the covers to see my original reviews).


Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Poirot is on the Orient Express, on a three-days journey across Europe. But after midnight the train comes to a halt, stuck in a snowdrift. In the morning the millionaire Simon Ratchett is found dead in his compartment his body stabbed a dozen times and his door locked from the inside. I liked this book enormously. I liked the characterisation and all the, now so non-pc, comments about nationalities, highlighting class and racial prejudice. I liked the problem-solving and ingenuity of the plot.


Fatherland by Robert Harris. Another murder mystery, this time set in Germany in 1964, but not the historical Germany of that date, because Hitler is approaching his 75th birthday, and Germany had won the Second World War ‘“ it’s historical fiction that never was ‘“ an alternative history. The homicide investigator is Xavier March of the Kriminalpolizei (the Kripo) and the victim is Josef Buhler, one of the former leading members of the Nazi Party.  It’s a real page-turner and full of suspense.


The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards, the sixth book in his Lake District Mystery series, featuring historian Daniel Kind and DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of the Cold Case Review Team. When a third murder occurs  the characters are all so alive, the settings so vividly described and the plots so intricate and compelling. I love all the historical and literary references he uses, weaving them seamlessly into the books, and then there is the ongoing friendship between Daniel and Hannah.


The Dance of Love by Angela Young absolutely entranced me. It’s historical fiction set at the turn of the twentieth century between 1899 and 1919, a brilliant book, both a heart-rending love story and a dramatic story too, as the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and the devastating and tragic effects of the First World War impact on the characters’ lives. I cannot praise it too highly,  a beautifully written, brilliant book that moved me deeply.


This year’s choice is by one of my favourite authors – Ann Cleeves and it’s the sixth book in the Vera series, namely Harbour Street. It has everything I like in a crime fiction novel ‘“ atmospheric setting, convincing characters and a cleverly constructed and complex plot. It kept me guessing right to the end. It revolves around the stabbing of Margaret Krukowski on the Newcastle Metro but Vera’s investigations extend into the past and uncover an earlier murder.

7 thoughts on “Five of the Best: May 2011 – May 2015”

  1. Love the fact that you are doing this feature too! OK, of course, I love Murder On The Orient Express. And I’ve read at least 1 of Martin Edwards’ books, but I’ve forgotten everything. Need to begin again with that series. You’ve totally convinced me with Harbour Street and I have sought out or ordered the first Vera book through our inter-library loan. Look forward to it whenever it finally arrives.


  2. Fatherland is one of those books that’s been on my radar for years but I’ve just not got around to it. It’s sad to think of all the brilliant books out there that we know we ought to read but never quite get to.


  3. Oh, you’ve got some of my favourite authors here, Margaret. Christie, Edwards and Cleeves, all in the same post – not at all surprised their books make your list.


  4. Ann Cleeves is a writer I have yet to warm to. I don’t seem to be able to take to Vera, but I must get round to trying her other settings.


  5. I love this feature! I think if people are still recommending a book after a few years then it must have been a good one! The only one of these that I’ve read is the Agatha Christie, but both Martin Edwards and Ann Cleeves are on my TBR list – not these particular books though. So it’s good to know you recommend the authors. 🙂


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