I’ve had a mixed bag of mysteries on my bedside table this month.
Andrea Camilleri – The Patience of the Spider is by one of my favorite mystery writers. I was reading it a little out of sequence but it didn’t matter as the book stands quite well on its own. I have found that each book in the Inspector Montalbano series is refreshing. An odd word to choose, but it is the only one I can think of. The mystery in this one wasn’t as complex as some, but I appreciated the development of the characters and the portrayal of Sicily. This one involves a kidnapping.
Dean Fuller – A Death in Paris was the first book by Fuller that I have read, and I quite enjoyed it. Luckily it is also the first in his series featuring Chief Inspector Alex Grismolet of the Surete and his assistant Varnas. As a police procedural it was excellent and I fully intend to read more by Fuller.
Robert J. Randisi – I’m a Fool to Kill You is the last available book in the Rat Pack series and I am eagerly awaiting the new book due out this summer. This one has Eddie G., a Las Vegas pit boss, and his body-guard/friend and pancake enthusiast, Jerry Epstein, helping Ava Gardner get out of a real tight fix. Randisi brings Sinatra, Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. to life once again. The books are a treat.
Julia Spencer-Fleming – Just finished reading a pre-release copy of One Was a Soldier. The book really is three stories – the mystery, the love affair between Reverend Claire and Police Chief Van Alstyne and the story of what war does to those who participate in it and the struggle they have coming back to life at home. All three stories are tightly woven together. The mystery itself has little that is unexpected but the book as a whole is excellent, perhaps her best in the series. Its only flaw: the changes which seem to be destined in future books.
Charles Todd – The brand new book, A Lonely Death, is as good as all the rest in this series, perhaps even the best of the series. Inspector Rutledge is a shell-shocked veteran of WWI carrying on with his duties at Scotland Yard. He is still accompanied by the voice of Hamish, the Scottish sergeant whose death he feels responsible for; luckily so, for Hamish often sees the truth of a situation. In this one he is faced with perplexing murders of several veterans. You can easily read A Lonely Death without having read the others in the series.
Eric Wright – I jumped into Wright’s Charlie Salter series with the fifth book, A Body Surrounded by Water, and I am going to start at the beginning and see what the others are like. Salter is a police inspector in Toronto but A Body Surrounded by Water takes place while he and his family are vacationing on Prince Edward Island. You’ll get to see the non-tourist side of PEI.
Mike Harrison – I started his Eddie Dancer series a couple of weeks ago (All Shook Up) and I am now on the third and last one (Ruby Tuesday). They are like the ‘hard-boiled’ detective stories featuring Mike Hammer and Sam Spade. I like Eddie, his back-up Danny and his girl friend Cindy. Harrison is a Canadian writer and Eddie’s home base is Calgary. I wish there were more Eddie Dancer books. Mr. Harrison, please write more!
Walter Mosley – Known to Evil is Mosley’s second book featuring Leonid McGill. I don’t think I will come to like McGill as much as I did Easy Rawlins or even Fearless Jones, but the book is well-paced and a good read. McGill is a present-day character in New York City. Mosley is an excellent writer and my feelings about McGill are just personal likes and not any indication of deficiency.
This month I also read Jeffery Deaver’s new book, The Burning Wire, James Patterson’s, London Bridges and Alexander McCall-Smith’s Isabelle Dalhousie novel, The Charming Quirks of Others. While I enjoyed them as novels by familiar, favorite writers I found them all rather weak links in otherwise strong series.