Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Updating some favorite series

I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series from several mystery authors, and somehow it seems they all are on the same writing schedule (maybe they all know each other and go on holiday--or on tour--together once the books are published? ha ha), since their books come out within a month or so of one another. So I have yet again had a reading fest to catch up with them.

They are...

Why Kings Confess (Sebastian St. Cyr #9)
by C. S. Harris

Harris keeps her Regency mystery series going with consistent high-quality situations, emotions, and characterizations, plus a multifaceted murder mystery. I found one theme of this book--the possible restoration of the Bourbon dynasty to France--intriguing, since I knew little of the history of the heirs' years of exile in England after the French Revolution. Placing the murders in juxtaposition to a secret delegation sent to Britain by Napoleon to open peace talks gave full scope to the possibilities for volatile emotions to hold sway--between those who want peace at any price vs. those who want to win the war (and beat Napoleon), and those who want to restore the Bourbon monarchy vs. those who favor a more Republican solution. And introducing a character from Sebastian's troubled past in the military spiced it up even further. I also enjoyed a more intimate exploration of the character of Irish surgeon Paul Gibson, and also the interplay of emotions between Sebastian and his new wife. I don't want to say too much more about the continuing parallel personal story of Sebastian, because if you haven't read this far (or at all) in the series, that would spoil it for you; but it continues to be interesting!

The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway #6)
by Elly Griffiths

I am continuing to enjoy this narrative, and I liked the mystery in this one better than that in the last book. The parallel between the discovery by Ruth of a body thought to be the notorious Mother Hook, who was hanged in 1867 for murdering five children, and the present-day self-styled "Childminder," who is kidnapping (and possibly killing) children in Norwich is brought together when Ruth becomes a reluctant participant in the production of an episode of a TV series about her archaeology dig, dubbed "Women Who Kill." Meanwhile, DCI Harry Nelson can't figure out if he's looking for one killer or two... 

Griffiths "got" me with this one, because I thought I had solved the mystery (the whodunnit) from close to the beginning of the book, and I was wrong. That's always nice in a mystery!

Hard Going (Bill Slider #16)
by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Inspector Bill Slider has a real puzzler in the murder of Mr. Lionel Bygood, an old-fashioned sort of gentleman who was bashed in the head during what Doc Cameron describes as "our old friend the Frenzied Attack." It seems like the poor man must have known his killer, but if that's the case, how to discern who it is from among the multitude of suspects? He was a gregarious old guy, so there are many.

I love this series. I can't say this one was my favorite, but it was well done. There were updates on life in the Slider household, as well as goings-on at the police station. Porson offers up more hilarious malapropisms, and Harrod-Eagles provides good plot twists as usual.

And now I am back to waiting for a year (?) until the next round! It's a good thing I work in a library and can discover some new series to follow in the meantime!

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