Library Loot

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. 

I’m trying to reduce my TBRs, but I can’t resist borrowing library books, especially when the mobile library van stops down the road, which it did last week. I was quite restrained though and only borrowed three books. They are all books in different series, that I’m reading totally out of order:

Library bks June 2016

  • The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This is part of a cycle of novels set in the literary universe of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books of which The Shadow of the Wind, which I read before I began this blog, and The Angel’s Game, which I have not read, are the first two instalments. I wondered whether it would matter that I haven’t read The Angel’s Game but a note at the beginning of The Prisoner of Heaven assures me that the cycle of books can be read in any order as each work presents an independent, self-contained tale, connected through characters and storylines, creating thematic and narrative links.

Blurb from Amazon:

It begins just before Christmas in Barcelona in 1957, one year after Daniel and Bea from THE SHADOW OF THE WIND have married. They now have a son, Julian, and are living with Daniel’s father at Sempere & Sons. Fermin still works with them and is busy preparing for his wedding to Bernarda in the New Year. However something appears to be bothering him.

Daniel is alone in the shop one morning when a mysterious figure with a pronounced limp enters. He spots one of their most precious volumes that is kept locked in a glass cabinet, a beautiful and unique illustrated edition of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. Despite the fact that the stranger seems to care little for books, he wants to buy this expensive edition. Then, to Daniel’s surprise, the man inscribes the book with the words ‘To Fermin Romero de Torres, who came back from the dead and who holds the key to the future’. This visit leads back to a story of imprisonment, betrayal and the return of a deadly rival …

From the back cover:

London, 1933. Two months after Usha Pramal, is found murdered in a South London canal, her brother turns to Maisie Dobbs to find the truth about her death, as Scotland Yard have failed to conduct a proper investigation.

Before her murder, Usha was staying at an ayah’s hostel, a refuge for Indian women whose British employers had turned them out. But nothing is as it seems and soon another Indian woman is killed before she can speak out. As Maisie is pulled deeper into an unfamiliar yet alluring subculture, her investigation becomes clouded by the unfinished business of a previous case. And at the same time her lover, James Compton, gives her an ultimatum she cannot ignore …

  • Pray for the Dying by Quintin Jardine, a Bob Skinner Mystery. There are 26 books in the series set in Edinburgh and previously I’ve read just one – Fallen Gods, the 13th book. Pray for the Dying is the 23rd. I’d been meaning to read more of these books before now as I did enjoy Fallen Gods, but quite simply other books got in the way, as they do …

Blurb:

‘After what happened, none of us can be sure we’re going to see tomorrow.’

The killing was an expert hit. Three shots through the head, as the lights dimmed at a celebrity concert in Glasgow. A most public crime, and Edinburgh Chief Constable Bob Skinner is right in the centre of the storm. The shooters were killed at the scene, but who sent them? The crisis finds Skinner taking a step that he had sworn he never would. Tasked with the investigation of the outrage, he finds himself uncovering some very murky deeds…The trail leads to London, and a confrontation that seems too much, even for him. Can the Chief solve the most challenging mystery of his career…or will failure end it?

And now I just need to find time to read them.

Crime Fiction Alphabet: Q is for Quintin Jardine

letter QThis week in the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise we’re up to the letter Q. My contribution is:

Quintin Jardine. I found his books in my local library – the one in Scotland, which is most appropriate as Quintin Jardine is Scottish. He was born in Motherwell, Lanarkshire and has homes in both Gullane, East Lothian and Trattoria La Clota, L’Escala, Spain. He has been a journalist, government information officer, political spin-doctor and media relations consultant before becoming a crime fiction writer with two  series of detective novels – the Bob Skinner novels set in Edinburgh where Skinner is a Deputy Chief Constable and the Oz Blackstone mysteries, in which Oz is a movie actor trying to forget that he was ever a “private inquiry agent”.

For more biographical details and list of books see his website.

Fallen Gods is the 13th in the Bob Skinner books. It’s set in both Scotland and  America. The beginning of this book is quite confusing, which is down to me and not the author as I’ve jumped into the Bob Skinner books mid-stream as it were. It’s confusing because at the beginning of the book it appears that Bob is dead, ‘dropping in his tracks’ at his wife’s parents’ funeral. Sarah, his wife, says

His heart stopped, just like that. Makes you think, doesn’t it. There is no Superman; there is no Planet Krypton. Not even the great Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner was invulnerable. (page 6)

I had to double check.  I’d  read  the blurb before I started to read Fallen Gods and that stated that Bob’s career is ‘hanging by a thread’; that his brother’s body has been found in the detritus of a flood – a brother whose existence he has kept a secret for many years;  and that a valuable painting was burnt in the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. Whilst he and his team are investigating these events, his wife, Sarah is left in America with their children, recovering from the death of her parents. She finds comfort in the arms of an old college lover and then is faced with ‘a seemingly inevitable murder conviction’.

So how could Bob Skinner be dead? All was revealed as I read on and what a tangled web Quintin Jardine has woven (as Sir Walter Scott would say).

So, I have found another detective series to read. This is a complex book, with believable characters and it switches seemlessly between the crimes in  Scotland and America with ease. I was never unsure where I was or who I was with and there are a lot of characters to get your head round. It kept me guessing throughout as to the culprits and is really more about the characters and their personal lives than about the crimes.

I enjoyed this book and will be reading more of Bob Skinner in the future – there are 19 in total so far.