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review 2017-07-22 17:17
The Burglar in the Library, Lawrence Block
The Burglar in the Library - Lawrence Block

Of the three Bernie the Burglar books I've read, this is the daftest - and best! And best because daftest. Block's deliberate send-up of the country house mystery genre is silly, funny and unsurprisingly involves corpses piling up in a place Bernie is trying to steal from...

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review 2017-07-21 07:21
Continental Crimes (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards,Martin Edwards

Anthologies are, generally speaking, a tricky business. Whether they are written by one author or by several authors. But "Continental Crimes" happily avoids these traps. These are solid British murder mysteries set in different countries on the continent. There are stories by Agatha Christie, Josephine Bell, Arnold Bennett, Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K.Chesterton and many others...Of course, not all the stories are brilliant, but they are very good and some are brilliant which makes this a surprisingly very good anthology. 

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review 2017-07-20 22:34
Too Good to Be True - Ann Cleeves,Kenny Blyth,Macmillan Digital Audio
Why did I read it? I have listened to most of the Shetland series, so, naturally, I was interested in this short, crime story featuring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez.
 
What's it about? Jimmy's ex-wife, Sarah, asks him to come to the borders, to Stonebridge, where the local teacher has died. Although the police think Anna committed suicide, rumours have it that Sarah's husband, the good doctor was Anna's lover and he murdered her. Jimmy just wants to get home to Shetland; instead he reluctantly agrees to look into the matter because Sarah is so distressed.
 
What did I like? Well, the audio recording was clear, and without error. Kenny Blyth did an excellent job as narrator. A very short listen, with quick character development of both the people, and the village of Stonebridge. Jimmy is very much on his own on this one, and that makes a nice change. He also seems a little sharper in this story.
 
I did like the shorter chapters, and the writing seemed tighter in this story, compared to the longer books. It was a pleasant way to pass a day's commute.
 
What didn't I like? Oh dear. One particular line gave the whole thing away, so there was no real revelation at the end. I'm wondering if this is becoming a habit with the author, as I found the same thing in the last offering Cold Earth.
It wasn't the best crime storyline, if I'm honest, as the motive/reason for the teacher's death has been employed by many a crime writer, and it felt a little tired.
 
I did wonder if perhaps this was just an exploration of Jimmy's past, with a death thrown in, to set up some future book?
 
Would I recommend it? If you a reader of the Shetland series, then, yes.
 
If you're a fan of crime fiction, have read widely in the genre, and haven't read any of Ann Cleeves's other books, then don't start with Too Good To Be True, as it's not her best.
 
If you've not read much crime fiction before, would consider yourself a bit squeamish (no graphic descriptions here), and are thinking of a quick dip into the genre, then you may enjoy Too Good To Be True, as it certainly doesn't require knowledge of the other books in the series

 

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review 2017-07-20 00:17
"Carrots - Shelby Nichols #1" by Colleen Helme - clever enough to keep me reading but not funny enough to make me laugh
Carrots - Colleen Helme

Carrots" is an escapist adventure that seems to be aiming for Stephanie Plumb zaniness but never quite gets there.

 

The premise is intriguing: 30 something stay at home mom stops to buy carrots, witnesses a bank robbery, gets a grazing head wound from a bullet and wakes with the ability to read minds.

 

Soon she finds herself being hunted by the robber, ensnared by a mob boss, consulting with the police and hiding things from her lawyer husband.

 

The plot is original and delivers several surprises of the "how is she going to get out of THAT?" kind but I kept being distracted by the fact that our heroine seemed implausible to the point of being insulting.

 

She was obsessively insecure with her looks, her weight and her age. She would flip from resourceful to ditzy in a paragraph. She constantly made stupid impulsive decisions that put her and her family in danger, had no will power and the moral compass of seven year old

 

I can see that she's meant to be a kind of everywoman overcoming the odds but it's a fairly insulting take on everywoman.

 

This is first of a series of adventures but it will be the last one I spend time on.

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text 2017-07-17 20:31
Reading progress update: I've read 248 out of 400 pages.
The Burglar in the Library - Lawrence Block

Whodunnit? Bernie thinks he knows but won't tell anyone!

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