I read 8 books in January, enjoying some much more than others. I am hoping to write about the three books I haven’t reviewed but in case I don’t get round to it I’ve written a few words about them here.
1. The Stroke of Winter by Wendy Webb 2.5*
2. The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jonasson 3*
3. Ghost Walk by Alanna Knight 3*
4. Aftermath by Peter Robinson 3*
5. Underworld by Reginald Hill 5* – the 10th Dalziel and Pascoe crime fiction novel, set in the Yorkshire mining town of Burrthorpe in 1986, two years after the Miners’ Strike. I thoroughly enjoyed this. For now I’ve copied the summary from Fantastic Fiction because this is a complex book that needs more description than just a few lines:
When young Tracey Pedley vanished in the woods around Burrthorpe, the close-knit community had their own ideas about what had happened, but Deputy Chief Constable Watmough has it down as the work of a child-killer who has since committed suicide — though others wondered about the last man to see her alive and his fatal plunge into the disused mine shaft. Returning to a town he left in anger, Colin Farr’s homecoming is ready for trouble, and when a university course brings him into contact with Ellie Pascoe, trouble starts… Meanwhile Andy Daziel mutters imprecations on the sidelines, until a murder in Burrthorpe mine forces him to take action that brings him up against a hostile and frightened community…
6. Lion by Conn Iggulden 4*
7. The Last Rose of Shanghai by Weina Dai Randel 3* – historical fiction set Japanese-occupied Shanghai, this is a World War Two romance, the story of Aiyi Shao, a young heiress and the owner of a glamorous Shanghai nightclub and Ernest Reismann, a penniless Jewish refugee who had fled from Germany. I loved the beginning of this book but the rest of the book was not so good – too much ‘telling’ and I’d have liked less focus on the romance, which to me was barely believable So, 5* for the first 40%, 2* for the rest, so 3* overall. But plenty of other readers love this book.
8. Shroud of Darkness by E C F Lorac 4* – a Golden Age crime fiction beginning with five passengers on a train from Cornwall to London. When it arrives at Paddington Station in thick fog, one of the passengers is brutally attacked and left for dead. Chief Inspector MacDonald first has to identify the victim, whose pockets had been rifled and then discover why he was attacked and who did it. Another book I really enjoyed, trying to work out what had happened and failed – I was completely baffled, as much in the dark as the fog-bound passengers.