Thursday, 3 November 2016

October: Favourite Reads

October 2016: Favourite Reads

This month's favourite reads post is a little sparse; October was a month of rather disappointing books punctuated, luckily, with some great ones. I'm wondering whether to do a post on the books that I've struggled with, would anybody actually be interested in that?
I'll have a think.

But back to the good books. These four really stood out in an otherwise dreary reading month. I've just realised they're all crime fiction and all part of a series, clearly I have a type.

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #3)
by Agatha Christie

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

This was a library book which I returned before I could photograph it, so it's not in the main picture.
I've read a lot of Agatha Christie's Poirot novels but not too many of the Miss Marple mysteries so I've been trying to catch up. In this one the body of a young girl is found in Colonel and Mrs Bantry's library. But neither of them have ever seen the strangled young woman before. While Inspector Slack and Colonel Melchett investigate, Mrs Bantry calls in her friend Miss Marple to help. The Body in the Library is a classic in every way; classic Christie, classic Marple and classic crime fiction. Yes, there are a few cliched characters, but Christie always makes them work by giving them that little bit more depth. Plus, the stock characters are something of a must in Christie mystery. This is a great read, plenty of twists and turns but in the typical Christie, small village setting.

The Hanging Tree (River of London / Peter Grant #6)
by Ben Aaronovitch

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

You can read my full review of The Hanging Tree here, but I had to mention it again as it was definitely my standout read of October. The 6th book in the Peter Grant series is actually published today, so go get one as it is another great addition to the series. In this book, Peter Grant is drawn into the world of the super-rich when he has to investigate a suspicious death at one of the most exclusive apartment blocks in London. He's also on the trail of the Faceless Man and trying to stay on the good side of Lady Tyburn, whose daughter is somehow involved in the case.
It's another strong book from Aaronovitch, with the typical deadpan humour and mystical overtones that his fans love. Plus, Peter Grant almost gets himself killed in even more ridiculous ways, which is always fun.

The Detective (Johannes Cabal #2)
by Jonathan L. Howard

The Detective by Jonathan L. Howard

I included the first book in the Johannes Cabal series, The Necromancer, in my September Favourites and promised to do a review, which I still haven't got round to, but I will, another promise!
I loved the first one so I got the next in the series, The Detective. Now I really enjoyed this but thought it was quite different to the first book; in The Necromancer Cabal has to win his soul back from the devil by collecting 100 other souls, but in The Detective there is a distinct lack of demons and undead. Instead, it is more of a detective novel (clue's in the title). In fact, it has a distinctly Christie feel; a murder aboard an aeroship with a select cast of characters and several twists and turns. Don't worry, Cabal is still bringing the dead back to life and delivering his usual cutting one liners, but I must admit it felt a bit disconnected from the first book.

Telling Tales (Vera Stanhope #2)
by Ann Cleeves

Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves

My grandma gave me this book; nearly every time I see her I come away with a book or two, usually an Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh. This time she gave me one of Ann Cleeves' Vera mysteries.
Telling Tales is about the murder of 15 year old Abigail Mantel, for which Jeanie Long has been in prison for ten years. New evidence surfaces that shows Jeanie is innocent, and residents of Elvet, the East Yorkshire village where she lived, are disturbed to find out that the murderer is still at large. Especially Emma Bennett, who discovered the body of her best friend all those years ago.
I've not read any Vera books before and I haven't watched the series either, which I've heard is good, but I will definitely be reading more after this as Telling Tales was a great mystery, really influenced by its setting, and with a wonderfully original detective in the blunt, clever, eczema suffering Vera.
I've just looked this up and it's number two in the series, but I don't think you have to read them in order, I certainly didn't get the feeling that I was missing something.

That's all for October. Let me know if you've read any of these books and what you thought.

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