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Jul 16

Murder, mystery, Swedish forests: have you been watching Jordskott?

Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2015 in Fandomlinks

The fairytale-noir monster mash-up is an eco-friendly journey into a heart of darkness where parental anguish is a constant.

Read more here. You can also read a little more about the series here and here.

Feb 11

No More Brothers (A Serafina Florio Mystery)

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 in Books, Mystery/Cop, Reviews

Just last night I finished readind this ebook/novella by Susan Russo Anderson. This summer I read the first book in the series about the midwife and private investigator, Serafina Floria, Fina, who lives in mid-19 century Sicily, Death of a Serpent. I have already reviewed that book, so I’ll move on to the novella.

It was great returning to this ‘universe’. I love Serafina and her family and friends. Sometimes though, I’m a little surprised that this era seems so modern. Was it? That’s perfectly possible. Though I’m a bit of a history fan, I can’t say I’ve delved very deeply into this particular time and place. Or maybe the author has let a bit of anachronism sneak into the story. If so, it doesn’t ruin the experience.

Fina has a big family – seven children and a young orphan who is part servant, part family member. She also has her best friend Rosa, who used to be a madam, but has now retired and lives next door to Serafina. Everyone is quite sympathetic except for Fina’s oldest son, who seems to resent his mother’s sleuthing hobby – though it’s not only a hobby – the police commissioner hires her to help on especially puzzling cases.

This story wasn’t quite as fascinating as the first, but I suppose that’s only natural, since it’s so much shorter, but there was a surprise at the end. The novella was only available as a Kindle download. Fortunately I have a Kindle Touch.

I’m looking forward to reading the third part in the series – Death in Bagheria.

Nov 7

Never Buried, Leigh Koslow Mystery Series, Book 1, by Edie Claire

Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 in Books, Mystery/Cop, Reviews

I just finished reading Never Buried, Leigh Koslow Mystery Series, Book 1, by Edie Claire. It’s a mystery, that I found for free on Amazon. It’s also available on Smashwords.

I think that the reason the author made this book available for free is that it’s the first book in a series, and was originally published in 1999.

This was a fun, fast read, but also a really good mystery. I didn’t guess ‘whodunnit’ at all, until the end of the book.

I’ll just say a few words about the plot. Leigh has just moved out of her apartment (cockroach problems), and moved in with her pregnant cousin whose husband is in Japan. One of the first nights Leigh’s sleeping in the old newly renovated Victorian house, she notices a strange man in the yard. The following morning she makes a very unpleasant discovery in the hammock outside. It’s soon apparent that someone wants the two cousins out of the house and the threats escalate. Leigh’s cousin won’t be scared from her home and she and Leigh start looking into the history of the house (despite the disapproval of the investigating police officer, Leigh’s old room mate from college).

Unlike many other Kindle freebies, this was a well written and well edited book. I think I only spotted one spelling mistake in the whole book. I can recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries (or who appreciates any well written freebie book).

Oct 19

The Night Also Rises, by C B McCullough

Posted on Saturday, October 19, 2013 in Books, Reviews, Science Fiction

I have just finished reading The Night Also Rises by C B McCullough (in the form of an e-book). His book is what I would describe as a hard-boiled mystery noir, set in the future, on a different planet. The only important difference between Earth and Jannix that I can detect, is the fact that the day (and night) lasts several weeks. Perhaps oddly enough, I enjoyed this book a lot (though I usually prefer cosy mysteries).

The main character is a middle-aged private investigator who gets an assignment by a famous millionaire. He’s supposed to investigate the murder of the old man’s son. Not surprisingly, not all is as it appears and the case becomes a life and death struggle. It seems that this is the first book in a series, but it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

Oct 11

Stephanie Plum…

Posted on Friday, October 11, 2013 in My life

I’m feeling really depressed right now, but fortunately I have a Stephanie Plum ‘mystery’ to turn to. That’s about the only thing that can get me in a good mood at the worst of times. Thank you, Janet Evanovich for distracting me from my troubles!

Sep 5

Death of a Serpent by Susan Russo Anderson (A Serafina Florio Mystery)

Posted on Thursday, September 5, 2013 in Books, Mystery/Cop, Reviews

I have just finished reading this fascinating historic mystery. It’s set in 1860’s Sicily, a (more or less) new time and place for me. Other than from my studies of history, I haven’t read anything from this era.

What I really like about this book, apart from the very interesting plot, is that I like most of the main characters. Lately, I’ve been disappointed in so many books, because even the ‘good guys’ are such extremely unsympathetic characters. It’s hard to really get into the plot of a book, if you hate everyone in it. With this book I didn’t have that problem.

I was a little surprised to find that most of the plot takes place in a brothel! But strangely enough you ended up sympathizing with many of the people there, and not just pitying the ‘girls’.

The ‘sleuth’ is a recently widowed midwife with seven children (one of them has run away from home and another has gone off to university). The madam of the brothel is Serafina’s best friend, and that’s why she agrees to look into the gruesome murders taking place on the very doorstep of the brothel. Someone seems to have it in for Rosa, the madam, or is there another motive behind the killings?

One of the few things that bothered me about this well-written book is the fact that almost no one questions Serafina when she suddenly becomes a private investigator. Only two of her sons even comment on the fact!

Another thing that I’ve been wondering about is that everything is so modern. Serafina has studied at the university. She and her friend and some of the children go on idyllic little outings by train. Everyone seems very up to date about things happening in America, though in all fairness many people are emigrating and many others probably have relatives living there who keep in touch regularly. Maybe that part isn’t too surprising. But really, even if the setting is a bit too ‘modern’ I don’t care. This was such a wonderful reading experience I won’t question all the details. The author must have done her research, quite probably she knows more about the time and place than I do anyway.

I can definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes historic mysteries.

Aug 11

Hespira by Matthew Hughes

Posted on Sunday, August 11, 2013 in Books, Reviews, Science Fiction

I have just finished Matthew Hughes’ novel Hespira. Like in the first two books in the series, the story is about future private investigator, Henghis Hapthorn. He’s a bit full of himself but rather funny. There are plenty of wonderfully weird and fascinating details, such as the fact that Hapthorn’s intuition has moved out and now lives in a separate body and the equivalent of a personal computer is turned into a cute little creature called a grinnet, who’s like a mix of cat and monkey.

The story is set in Earth’s ‘penultimate’ age – a bit like in Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth, and is scientifically based but is changing into an era of sympathetic association, meaning magic. Hapthorn isn’t looking forward to that, without his intuition.

In this book, Hapthorn accepts a seemingly simple case, but it leads to unexpected complications that force Hapthorn to leave ‘Old Earth’ for a while. At the same time he meets a mysterious woman who’s lost her memory. He takes her along on his trip. While travelling, Hapthorn and Hespira run into more mystery.

The two earlier books didn’t work completely for me, though I loved some of the ideas. This book feels a lot better though I have a feeling there was nothing actually wrong with the other two, it’s just that I prefer the plot in this one. On the other hand I’m looking forward to re-reading the other books. Maybe I’ll feel differently about them now. There’s also a collection of stories about Hapthorn that I have bought and downloaded. Unfortunately, for me, just a week or so later, the book was available for free, in fact, it might be still.

The series about Henghis Hapthorn are science fiction books that are a little different to what I’m used to, but I can recommend them to anyone who likes science fiction, mystery and fantasy. I wish there were more books in the series about Hengis Hapthorn. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Hughes will write another one.

This book wasn’t available as a paperback which would have been my first choice. It wasn’t even available in hardcover, except at a ridiculous price (from about 90 dollars?). At first I had no idea why, but after a digital conversation with the author, I now know why and unfortunately, it’s inevitable. It’s a shame though, since I have both the other books in the series in paperback.

Feb 11

Bone Mountain

Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 in Books, Mystery/Cop, Reviews

When I first came across Eliot Pattison’s mysteries set in Tibet, I was thrilled. Tibetan culture is something I’ve been interested in for years, in fact ever since I first read Tintin in Tibet. My love for Tibet only increased when I discovered Tibetan dogs (but that’s another story.)

Like the two earlier books in the series, Bone Mountain was fascinating, but sad. Parts of it read like a fantasy because of the incredibly interesting and unique culture and lifestyle of (some of) the Tibetans. Pattison’s ‘sleuth’ Han Chinese Shan, first came to Tibet when he was deported to a gulag. He survived the harsh conditions in the camp by embracing Tibetan religion and culture (the two are completely interwoven, so it’s hard, if not impossible to separate the two).

Bone Mountain deals with the desctruction of Tibet’s nature, by the Chinese occupation force. Reading about it almost made me cry. The ‘hero’ of the book is really Tibetan culture, in many ways illustrated by the characters. They’re all unique, fascinating and mostly sympathetic. It’s obvious that Pattison has come to care about his Tibetan friends and their culture, that, like the country it originated, is threatened by extinction.

Aug 1

Another Swedish mystery writer

Posted on Saturday, August 1, 2009 in Other

I suppose I might mention Anna Jansson too. A few years ago, I read some of her books and thought they were quite ok, but at the time, I was busily devouring other, more interesting books – Barbara Nadel’s mysteries and Eliot Pattison’s among others – so I wasn’t particularly impressed. This summer I got my hands on a few other books by her and either she’s improved or I’m in a different mood right now. Last year one of her mysteries was turned into a tv series, which I quite liked.

Anna Jansson is a nurse who turned to writing mysteries. Her books are set on the island of Gotland. The setting is one reason I find these books so interesting. Gotland is a very special place, with a fascinating history. Her heroine is female cop Maria Wern. She seems quite intelligent, but not particularly tough, not like the tv version, played by Eva Röse, who is an excellent Swedish actress. In a few of the books, there’s a medical theme, which seems appropriate.

Aug 1

Another favorite mystery writer

Posted on Saturday, August 1, 2009 in Fandom

Leena Lehtolainen is a Finnish mystery writer, who writes about female cop Maria Kallio. Maria is married and has a little daughter (and a cat), but sometimes glances at other men… I really like the books about Maria Kallio and I’m patiently awaiting the next one. In the last book I read, a while ago, we learned that Maria was pregnant with her second child. Fortunately, these books have been translated into Swedish. I don’t know much Finnish… Actually that’s an understatement. I know less than a dozen words, all told, but that’s another story. Finland is in many ways like Sweden, but in other ways different and it’s those differences that fascinate me.


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