London, 1915. Lord Murcheson has been stabbed and murdered in his house, his wife Lady Harriet was found there wounded, too. She claims to have committed to crime with a pair of scissors, which is highly unlikely due to her severe injuries. While Lady Harriet is fighting for her life at the hospital, Chief Inspector Peter Beech takes over the case. The city is at war and thus, men are scarce with the Metropolitan Police. Beech has quite an innovative idea which seems to be more than reasonable for the case at hand: he wants to employ women for the investigation. Thus, Victoria Ellingsham, trained in law, and medical doctor Caroline Allardyce join the small team of Beech, charming ex-boxer PC Billy Rigsby and former Special Branch Arthur Tollman. While London is under attack of the Germans, the unusual squat investigates the case, comes across masses of legal and illegal drugs, prostitutes and the abduction of a young girl who worked in the Murcheson household.
“Murder in Belgravia” follows the lines of classic murder cases in the style of Agatha Christie. The most striking about the novel is the atmosphere. Not only is the situation of World War I convincingly portrayed with the city under fire at night and the shortage of men for the police and other forces, but you also feel yourself transported back to the times when lords and ladies lived in a completely different world which only scarcely overlapped with average or lower class people.
The case itself has to be solved without any modern forensics or other sophisticated medical or technical means which I liked a lot. It is due to a quick-witted intellect and particularly the women’s sharp observation that they can assemble the necessary pieces of evidence to rumble the murderer.
Lynn Brittney’s book is a cosy crime novel that I really enjoyed to read. She has created awesome characters of whom I would like to read more.
Their prayers have been heard and the god Ala sent them a baby girl: Ada, named in honour of the generous goddess. Yet, it comes with a plus, Ada is not alone, she has got some characters living in her mind, still asleep, but eager to wake up and take over the body given to them. The first two to arrive and take care of Ada and her siblings in their Nigerian village. Later, in America, when another of the voices awakes and takes over control over Ada‘s body, things turn out differently. For the world outside, it is hidden what is going on inside Ada‘s head, once she tries to tell a therapist, however, the voices that possess her are stronger and find a way out of this dangerous situation.
Akwaeke Emezi‘s novel „Freshwater“ was all but easy to read for me. First of all, I had some difficulty understanding who is telling the story, it took me some time to figure out that the voices in Ada‘s head are the narrators. So, we are mostly inside her mind, but sometimes we get what happens outside, too.
You cannot really say that Ada is mad even though she hears voices and follows their command. It was especially when she hurt herself to calm down the first two voices, Smoke and Shadow, that was hard to endure. The third who made her act promiscuously wasn‘t much better. They are evil, after all, misusing an innocent human to fulfil their wishes and greed. I am not sure if it works like this with people hearing voices, even if it is somewhat different, this seems to be horrible. On the other hand, Ada obviously experienced some very bad incidents and the voices were somehow able to split those memories from her normal memory thus making her forget these experiences. Maybe this is the cause why the voices could develop after all.
It is always hard to like a novel if you detest the protagonist or narrator. Thus, „Freshwater“ is not a novel I could fall for easily. Still, I consider the topic highly interesting and, ultimately, the author found a convincing way of making the voices heard for us.
Rural France, St Denis in the Périgord region. Police officer Bruno this time has company: the Justice Ministry has send Amélie Plessis to get insight into basic police work. Before they can really get to know each other, they are called to the Commarque castle where a young woman was found dead. She seems to have been about to write some graffiti on the wall when she fell down. But soon they detect traces of foul play. The place of the crime scene does not seem to have been chosen by coincidence and soon Bruno and Amélie have to realise that they are not dealing with a simple murder case here, killing out of love or the like, but they are in the middle of an international plot of terrorism which threatens the lovely and peaceful region.
In his tenth case, we meet Bruno as we already know him from former novels: down to earth, a weakness for good food and the landscape and in order to solve his cases, he relies on his knowledge of the human nature and his good contacts in the region. Another woman enters the bachelor’s life, but this time she does not immediately win his heart, they have a rather professional relationship which turns over to some kind of friendship and liking. Both protagonists seem to be quite authentic and drawn from life.
The case is much more complicated than most of the others before. This time, the cause does not lie within the region or the people from the Périgord, but Martin Walker constructs a complex case of well-known Templar legends which are always attractive to a lot of people due to the mysteries around the order and any unanswered questions – not to talk of the Holy Grail – combined with international terrorism and threats as we, sadly, have witnessed in the last few years in Europe. I especially liked the development of the plot which made absolutely sense from an investigative point of view and was in no way farfetched in its extent.
All in all, exactly what I would expect in a novel from the Bruno series: an interesting case of murder embedded in the beautiful French countryside with hints at its food and culture.
Cherringham has regularly coaches full of tourists who come to see not only the lovely village, but to do tours around the historic sights. It is mainly elderly people who take part in those tours and up to now, they all were carried back home safe and sound. But now, one member of a group is missing. His sister even comes from the States to have a look into the matter and since the police seem to be rather reluctant about that case, she asks Jack for help. How could an elderly American go missing in Cherringham and not be seen again? When they start investigating his past, Jack and Sarah come across a fact that makes things appear in a completely new light: the supposedly tourist did not come to enjoy lovely Cherringham, he was there for revenge.
Episode 18 of the British cosy crime series which was again well balanced between the idyllic village life where everybody knows everybody and where things move at a slower pace than in the big city and a murder case which had some surprises to offer and quite an unexpected motivation. As always, quick to read, straight from the beginning to the end without any side plots to distract from the main topic.