Love story with Murders

Love Story
Image from Amazon

If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Talking to the Dead, you may have difficulty connecting with the protagonist here.  Detective Fiona Griffiths is an almost recovered sufferer from Cotard’s syndrome where the patient believes herself to be dead and thus has an uncanny affinity for corpses and body parts that is way outside the norm.

Again the scene is set in Cardiff and this time when called to a dead widow’s house by the house clearance team, she finds a human leg in the freezer.

To Griffith’s dismay, probably the most disliked officer is in charge of the case is Rhiannon Watkins, and she soon finds herself at odds with this officer.

The search for the rest of the body to add to the leg it quickly started and soon other parts of the dead woman appear all over Cardiff.  Then very soon another part of a body is found, but it is a different body.  This one is a male and it is not frozen, but fresh.  Now they have two bodies to identify.  Are the two murders connected, and if so how?

Through the hunt for the murderer, murderers we learn more about Fiona who is taking steps to find out more of her beginnings – who is she really? She has no knowledge of herself before the age of 2 when she was found in her adoptive father’s car at 2 years old?

And through it all, the murders, the hunt for herself, she finds herself drawn into the web of money, deceit, obsession and definitely danger.

This is not an easy book to read, but if you are into crime, murders and a totally convincing, but somewhat quirky character and deep visits to her mind, then this might be a book for you.  For me, I’m off to get book 4 in the series.

 

 

 

 

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Night School

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In Night Scool Reacher is still in the military.  It’s 1996 and Reacher is awarded a medal for a special mission in the morning and then sent to school that afternoon.  But a school with a difference; for a start, there are only two other members, a CIA analyst, and an FBI agent.

The three are advised that an Iranian spy working for the CIA  has learned that a group of young Saudis are about to make a purchase from an unidentified American.  The only clue they have is a voice message “The American wants 100 million dollars.”  Their job is to find the American, what it is that he is selling and stop him.

Unfortunately, the story gets off to a slow start and the pace isn’t what we now expect from Lee Child in his Reacher novels.  The story is well told but the Reacher we have come to know and love is not apparent in this one.  For me, Reacher post-military is the real Reacher.

If you are a Reacher fan you might like it, but for this fan, it just didn’t make the grade.

 

 

 

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NEED YOU DEAD

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Lorna Belling is stuck in a marriage to a manipulating, control freak.  She meets and falls in love with her dream man.  They make plans to leave their bad spouses and go away together, that is until she discovers from a client that he is not who he purports to be. The name and the background he has given her are totally false. So she arranges to meet him to confront him but things go very wrong for Lorna.

When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to a flat in Brighton where a woman’s body is found, it seems that an accident is the cause of death but when murder is suspected the husband rapidly becomes the chief suspect.  As the case proceeds. Grace realises there may be more than one other possible suspect, one of whom is much more clever and devious than the husband.

As usual with Peter James, we are given an insight into the inner workings of police procedures adding a sense of realism to the story.  To do this he calls upon the experiences of the real policemen with whom he is associated.

We are taken on a merry chase around Brighton and the environs until the real murderer is found and the case turns more sinister.  The twist in the tail is utterly unexpected and takes Grace completely by surprise.

I am a Peter James fan from way back, having read all the earlier 12 novels in the series. This one didn’t disappoint me.

 

 

TALKING TO THE DEAD

Talking to the dead

This is the first book in the series featuring DC Fiona Griffiths.  You may remember that I reviewed the sixth book in the series a few weeks ago – The Deepest Grave.

Here we find Fiona being interviewed by a DCI having applied to the police for a job.

We then jump 4 years and Fiona is now a DC (Detective Constable) albeit a lowly one tasked with following up and completing the information on a policeman turned embezzler.  She finds this job particularly boring and frustrating and wants to be part of an investigation of a real crime.

And when a prostitute and her six-year old daughter are found dead in a Cardiff squat, Fiona feels very close to these two and decides to become involved in finding the murderer.  Her attempts and pleas to be included in the team working on the case are mostly over-ridden but eventually, she manages to convince her boss that she has particular talents that could be utilised here.

Fiona is paired with Jane Alexander, a detective of fairly long standing and it is made clear that Fiona is only the back up to Jane,

Because she is Fiona, and her mind doesn’t run along the train tracks, she does some investigations on her own and these investigations lead the two detectives to meetings with other prostitutes, many of whom have been badly beaten by their ‘handlers”.  And then another prostitute is murdered.   They had been hoping for some insight to the murders or murderers from this prostitute but she is killed before they can get to her.

The story goes through a round of organised crime, a millionaire who has died in a small plane crash, drugs, rough sex, people trafficking and through it all we have Fiona, sometimes working with the team and often on her own.

We meet her family, Mother, Father, and two sisters none of whom are at all like Fiona intellectually or physically.  We learn about the disease she suffered for a couple of years that involved her dealing. with several psychiatrists.  She describes psychiatrists as “hating mental illness and basically wanting to subdue the illness rather than treat the patient,”

And because of this illness, Fiona has never had a boyfriend, so here we are introduced to a possible boyfriend who may turn into a lover, although she has had a couple of lovers up to now.

This is a fascinating book; not easy to read as we feel for our protagonist who is marching to a different drum than most of us.    I am looking forward to the next book in the series and have reserved it from our local library.

 

 

 

 

Where the Sweet Bird Sings

 

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Loss, grief, uncertainty, and lies that impact on the family are all in this novel.

Emma and Noah are not quite coming to terms with the death of their small son and now Emma has to cope with the death of her beloved Grandfather. And on top of this Emma’s brother is raising questions about his parents and DNA.

This is not a particularly easy book to read as we go along with Emma through all these trials as she seeks to find herself and learn to accept her life and herself.

I was given a copy of this book to read and choose to write this review.

Die Easy

Die Easy is book No 10 in the series featuring  Zoe’s protagonist, Charlie (Charlotte) Fox

Die Easy

This time we find Charlie and her partner/lover in New Orleans to act as body guards to a wealthy investor from Florida.   Many people feel that New Orleans, the city and the people, have been ignored for too long and a celebrity fund raiser is planned.  This is the reason Blake Dyer, the client, is going to be in New Orleans at this time.

As may be expected, this job does not go smoothly and is complicated by the fact that Sean Meyer, Charlie’s partner, has not totally recovered from the devastating accident that put him into a coma for several months.  He has woken from the coma apparently recovered physically but there are large parts of his past that he doesn’t remember, including Charlie.

Even some of the skills at which Sean excelled before the accident seem to have deserted him/been forgotten and Charlie is not completely happy to rely on somebody who is not really at the top of his game to be part of her team.  However, she has no choice but to obey her boss when he says Sean is to be part of the close protection team.

Without giving too much away, Charlie has to face an opponent from her past, deal with a threat not only to herself but also to Sean and more importantly the client while all the time not being sure whether she can rely on Sean to watch her back.  A robbery turned hostage situation develops around the fund raiser and while there are many close protection operatives on board the boat, Charlie is thrust into the lead role as the one to ameliorate the situation and get the passengers off the boat unharmed.  As usual, Charlie shows herself both physically and mentally able to cope with all that is put in her path but with some disastrous consequences.

So I urge you to get your hands on a copy of this book by fair means or foul – buy, borrow but perhaps I shouldn’t encourage you to steal – and set aside a Wednesday (or any other) afternoon to read this book.

Once again I commend Zoe Sharp on writing this book, her imagination and her characters.  I like to think of her as a friend.

Note – I have just placed a reserve at our library for the next and latest book in the series.  So watch this space for a review of Fox Hunter.

A Talent for Murder

Talent for Murder

 

For 11 days in December 1926, nobody knew where Agatha Christie was.  It has remained a mystery for all these years, that is until Andrew Wilson wrote his book, a Talent for Murder.The book is a result of a series of interview with Agatha Christie agreed to on the condition that the resultant book should not be published until 40 years after her death. So while this book is based on fact, there is certain fiction included as some of the protagonists were not available to be interviewed.  So to the book.

The book is a result of a series of interviews with Agatha Christie agreed to on the condition that the resultant book should not be published until 40 years after her death. So while this book is based on fact, there is certain fiction included as some of the protagonists were not available to be interviewed.  So to the book.

The book is written in the first person so we have some understanding of Christie’s thoughts at the time.

She has recently learned of her husband’s infidelity and so is distracted and feels she is being watched.  As a small girl, she had suffered from nightmares in which a gunman played a big part.  She is feeling the same kind of fear she felt then; but when she is pushed in front of an oncoming train at the Hyde Park station of the London Underground, and then rescued just as suddenly she begins to think the fear is not only in her imagination.

Her rescuer and attacker, is a Doctor who has a plan that he wants Agatha to carry out – namely the killing of his wife.  His thinking is that as the two women are unknown to each other, nobody would suspect Agatha of the murder.  Apparently, Doctor Kurs is a Christie fan and had just finished reading her latest book, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.  In fact, the doctor likens himself to Roger Ackroyd.

Kurs’ offer to Christie is that if she performs the dastardly deed, he will not go to the press with the story of her husband’s infidelity nor her brother’s drink and drug problems.  No physical harm would come to her daughter Rosalind, her brother or her husband.  Kurs describes in detail what his acquaintance could do to the 11-year-old Rosalind.

We are introduced to John Davison who works at Whitehall in the Civil Service and his companion Una Styles who really wants to be a writer.  These people want to help Christie whom they meet immediately following her meeting with Kurs.   And Davison also has been hoping to meet her and talk to her about helping in his department.

A plan is made by Kurs and followed out by Christie.  It is made to look like Christie has wandered away from a car accident and supposition is rife that she has been murdered or killed in the accident, or she has lost her memory and wandered away because if she is not dead or suffering memory loss, why would she not be in touch with her family.

The story has many twists and turns  Scary things arrive in the mail, there is the death of the young Una Styles who is attempting to discover what has happened to Agatha Christie.  There is a Police Superintendent who is determined to find the body and therefore, solve a murder. It is very much a Christie-type story.

This book has only just been published but if you can get hold of a copy, and if you are an Agatha Christie fan (as am I) then you will enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

The Munich Girl

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This is another book about World War 2 and the legacies that outlast any war. This is the story of a Munich Girl who in fact, was Eva Braun Hitler’s mistress and the friendship between two women that began as young girls and survived through all the barbarity and ugliness of war.
We are introduced to the story by Anna a young married woman who lives in New Hampshire with a self-indulgent husband for whom she puts everything aside. After her mother’s death, she finds a hidden treasure of mementoes of the war and begins to find out more about her mother and her secret, elusive friend. After surviving a horrific accident in a burning plane, during which her (unfaithful) husband dies, Anna decides to find out more about her mother’s life during those years in wartime Germany. It’s a book to make you think and although it’s fiction, it led me to find out more about the elusive Eva Braun and her place in Hitler’s life. I thoroughly recommend this book.
Note – I was given a copy of this book by the author to read and in exchange, I choose to post this review.

The Deepest Grave

I have just seen it is a month since I wrote a review.  During that month I have read many books but have been dilatory in reviewing them.  Apologies.

So today I will start with an author and his protagonist both new to me.

The Deepest Grave

The Deepest Grave is the 6th book in the series but not having read the earlier books didn’t faze me or stop me from enjoying the book.

We are introduced to DC Fiona Griffiths, a young detective based in Wales who had suffered from and still might suffer from Cotard’s Syndrome.  I didn’t know what that was either but Wikipedia tells us “Cotard delusion is a rare mental illness in which the affected person holds the delusional belief that they are already dead, do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs.”

So we know that this young detective doesn’t have an easy life.

However, it has been months since there was a murder in Cardiff and now comes the news of a corpse that has been decapitated with an ancient sword and the murder scene has been staged like a clue in a crossword puzzle.  The victim, Gaynor Charteris,  is an archaeologist working on a dig in Dinas Powys.  That and the other names are unpronounceable to this Anglo Saxon but they all sound magical.

Charteris is apparently well respected and well liked so it was hard to understand why anyone would kill her and in this particularly gruesome way.

Fiona’s boss, Dennis Jackson is on leave and is temporarily replaced by Bleddyn Jones, a by the book inspector who really doesn’t know how to take Fiona and her activities, and in fact, doesn’t really like her.  That feeling is mutual.  We meet Fiona’s father Tom, who has a shady past but will do anything to protect his daughters.

Into the mix comes Katie the Anglo-Saxon, who has been working at the dig but who is suffering a terminal illness and in helping at the dig was hoping to get her PhD completed before the end.

These two women, Fiona, the Celtic-Britain and Katie the Anglo-Saxon form a deep friendship and work together to solve the mystery.

With them we are led on a journey as they uncover the plot to defraud,  there are some forged archaeological artefacts, and the case appears to go back all the way to King Arthur and Excaliber.

It is quite a long book and the ending is totally unexpected.  I recommend it.

I learned some new words, some things about archaeology and am off to the library to get another book in the series. Perhaps I shall start with book 1, Talking to the Dead and so will learn more about Fiona Griffiths.

The Girl From Munich

 

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Having been brought up in London during the Second World War I found this book absolutely fascinating.  Here I was reading about the war from the other side.  Civilians who were living through many of the problems we faced.

We are introduced to Charlotte/Lotte a young girl from a high-class family, used to the privileges such a family bestows.  She is excitedly making plans for a sumptuous wedding to her best friend and fiancé, Heinrich. But life changes for the pair as in 1943 when the war is being lost by Germany she takes a secretarial job in an administrative supply section.  Lotte is immediately attracted to her superior who has lost his wife and children during the war.

We follow Lotte and her superior Erich, as they flee from the chaos and make their difficult way to where her mother is staying in the country with Lotte’s aunt.

Along the way, they realise that they are in love and we follow this pair as they try to make a new life for themselves in a Germany unlike anything either could have imagined.

This is the first novel from a woman in Australia who has a  German mother and an Italian father; she has a rich heritage on which to draw.

It is a good read and certainly one I shall recommend to my friends and followers.

Note – I was given this book to read on NetGalley and choose to write a review.