The first outbreaks of the Black Death in Dorset. There is crime and secrets and lies, but this is counterbalanced by great kindness and cooperation and thought. You wouldn't think it could be a hopeful kind of book, but even as the plague strikes so swiftly with such high mortality, it does free up all the wealth and power that was gathered into so few hands.
Now I just have to wait for the story to be continued.
It's situations like this that make me reluctant to start a series until it's all written
Edited to add, 9/2/18: I often give authors of fiction about plagues a hard time for giving their imagined diseases an easy transmission, an incredibly high mortality rate, and a very brief latency: these three ratios all being very high means an infection will burn out in a population too quickly to spread. Even the worst plagues in naive populations don't score high on all three. They also tend to avoid people getting ill and recovering, which some portion of the population usually does. Most fiction wrlters avoid the importance of hygiene and sanitation and supportive care: they have everyone dying from the primary disease directly rather than address indirect mortality. I've encountered more than a few books that use 99.99% in order to decrease the surplus population. I mention this because I can only think of two writers who don't cheat that way: Connie Willis and now Minette Walters. If you want realistic plagues, these are the women to read.
It was wise of me to pick my fattest book for my pre-read. But it was also a really good one, and I was eager to see what happened next, and I had a lot of free time this weekend to spend on the sofa with cats and family, reading away. So now it's done, and I 've got that book hangover where I don't want to go back to the books I was supposed to be reading to clear the shelves for September 1st.
And also it's going to be harder to update and post my spreadsheet from my phone.
Oh the thrill of choosing a book from my Bingo stack! The heady rush of getting to start right away. Then comes the agonizing choice and hours of back and forth. Finally I settle on what I most want to read at home on the weekend rather than lug on the commute, and Minette Walters weighs in the lead clearly. Then, consternation. This bool, unlike all her other books is not all psychological insight into the way a contemporary community reacts to crime. Historical fiction about the Black Death, yes, of course, and the first of a planned three? No doubt every one heard my delighted squeals. At 116 of 537 pages I'm hooked. Later I'll pick a square for it (of course, filling my free square first seems like a awful strategy ).
Page 206: the first plot twist: there is a murder. Walters came through for me.