The Second Deadly Sin

Asa Larsson’s The Second Deadly Sin may be the best Swedish mystery I’ve read in years. Larsson brings in the isolation and environment of northern Sweden as well as the history of the area being a mining company town. She entraps the reader with stories of bears hunting dogs and people in a remote area, and follows it with the death of an elderly neighbor of prosecutor Rebecka Martinsson.

Martinsson initiates the investigation into the murder but finds the family circumstances of the victims strange. The victim’s son was killed in a hit and run 3 years ago. Her father was accidentally killed in the woods a couple of months ago. Her grandmother was killed when her father was an infant. So much murder and bad luck in one family seems unlikely and Martinsson feels in her gut that there must be a connection. When she’s kicked off the case, she refuses the let it go.

There are a lot of twists and turns. The relationships between Martinsson and her neighbors and coworkers shows the depth of friendships that can exist with minimal conversation and a sauna. The level of human indifference shown opposed to those that do care is dramatic. I can’t tell more about this book and why I liked it so much without telling too many details. Theres several layers of societal flaws wrapped up in one family’s tragic history.

Great read! Great social commentary mixed in with a mystery.

Read October 2019

Pride, Prejudice, and Poison

I didn’t expect much from Elizabeth Blake’s Pride, Prejudice, and Poison other than a cozy mystery with a charming little village and quaint characters. I was not disappointed in that respect, but Blake is well versed in all things Jane Austen. She dribbles quotes and life references to the great author is such a way I didn’t find overkill or overwhelming.

The story itself has Erin Coleridge, the owner of a cute bookshop in North Yorkshire, England, but is friends with all the eclectic folks around town and a member of the contentious Jane Austen Society. When the president of the society is murdered, Erin feels the need to investigate to clear her best friends name. She hikes the moors, drinks tea, and generally ingratiates herself with the detectives.

Fun, easy read with quirky characters.

Read October 2019

Missing, Presumed

In Missing, Presumed, Susie Steiner introduces us to Edith Hind through her friends and family. In the middle of the night, Edith disappears. Blood on the kitchen floor. The foyer covered in coats. No reports of her anywhere.

DS Manon Bradshaw invesigates the crime, digging into Edith’s parents’ lives. With Edith’s father being a surgeon to the Royal Family, the press is ready to find anything wrong with the investigation, especially since the last big case missed some key evidence in calling it a homicide early enough. With the crime scene left the way it was and no body found within the first couple of days, most reporters and the police themselves begin to this of this a case of missing, presumed dead.

Several twists and turns and unintended consequences consume all Edith’s friends and family with a well written ending.

Read October 2019

Fatal Headwind

I read Fatal Headwind, by Leena Lehtolainen about a month go but still remember some visually descriptive scenes sailing around the islands and taking saunas. Lehtolainen writes a great mystery, but its the description of Finland and Finnish culture that makes me like her novels so much.

I this novel, Maria Kallio is sailing with her husband and baby and they spend a night on an island that has a communal lodge. There she meets her soon-to-be victim and where her long ago lover died almost a year earlier. Are the deaths connected? Just by location, Maria believes they are but her search through family businesses and dynamics reveals just how connected the family is.

Fun read. Makes me want to visit Finland.

Read September 2019

Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall

There are so many secrets in Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison, that its hard to keep track. Out main character, Kat Stanford’s mother has a secret brother, family jobs, romance literary career. Those that live at Honeychurch Hall are also keeping secrets from each other about a railroad that may or may not cut right through the village. When someone ends up dead, those with secrets they want to protect work hard to make sure its not exposed but still try to help solve the mystery.

Read August 2019

Death in Elysium

Death In Elysium, but Judith Cutler, is a cozy mystery where a really wealthy, intelligent, driven women ends up as a small town Reverend’s wife with all her churchly duties but unable to throw her money at the problems. Its a bit much how perfect Jodie Welsh is made out to be, finding solutions for many problems and getting the unemployed youngsters off the street by having them garden, build websites, or take photographs.

Easy read, a bit too unbelievable.

Read August 2019

The Last Anniversary

Liane Moriarty’s The Last Anniversary tells the story of Munro Baby Mystery, many years after the fact, when the whole of Scribbly Gum Island depends on the legend for tourism money. Baby Munro was found all along, both her parents mysteriously gone. The site of their disappearance became an attraction where mainlanders would pop over for the day and a picnic and gawk at the small home where baby Munro was found. Now years and generations later, Sophie Honeywell has inherited her ex-boyfriend’s aunts home on the island and she slowly finds out what really happened.

Fun read.

Read August 2019