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Madeleine

Madeleine's Book Log - ongoing

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12 hours ago, Madeleine said:

The Lost Man by Jane Harper -   8/10

 

Sounds excellent Madeleine, have made a note of it :)

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She's definitely a new favourite author.

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The Lost Man sounds like an interesting read! :)

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Yes it is, I'm glad we don't have that heat here!

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Cragside by L J Ross - this is the 6th in the DCI Ryan series, and now that the story arc featuring serial killer The Hacker has finally come to an end, Ryan and his team are trying to get back to normal. Ryan and his fiancée Anna had both their homes either destroyed or desecrated in the previous book, so whilst they find somewhere else to live they're staying in a cottage on the real life Cragside estate, a National Trust property with a huge eccentric house perched on a hillside. Ryan and Anna are invited to a murder mystery evening at the house, and as often happens with these events, suddenly everyone is plunged into darkness and when the lights come back on, the owner's elderly valet is found dead at the bottom of the basement stairs, where he'd gone to check the fusebox. At first it's thought to be an accident, but then a young art restorer who'd been working at the house is found dead in a ravine on the estate, and not surprisingly the police get very suspicious. Old secrets and grievances start to come out, and when another staff member meets a violent end, Ryan and his team have a race against time to find the culprit before anyone else is killed. Another enjoyable read, with a great setting, and also a new story arc set up in the form of someone from Ryan's old career in the Metropolitan Police in London, who gets the job of Superintendent, meaning that she's his boss, and these two have a history. 7.5/10

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The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths - latest in the Stephens and Mephisto series set in 1950s Brighton, it's now 1953 and Max Mephisto is headlining the variety show in the town, performing a double magic act with his daughter Ruby, who he didn't even know existed until a few years ago. Now she's engaged to his best friend, policeman Edgar Stephens, but when a young woman is murdered at theatrical digs, seemingly posed to mimic a scene from another act in the variety show, the two men find themselves once again involved with murder. Max's relationship with one of the showgirls ends in disaster, and there are also issues with the various personal relationships too, both among the theatre folk and the police, with ambitious young WPC Emma Holmes very much taking a leading role in this story. Another solid read from this reliable author, although not as enjoyable as her Ruth Galloway series, but still entertaining, and very evocative of Brighton during a snowy winter just before Christmas, with it's tales of stern theatrical landladies and a cast of colourful characters. 7/10

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The Scandal by Mari Hannah - 3rd in the Stone and Oliver crime series set in and around Newcastle-on-Tyne. It's not long before Christmas and DI Frankie Oliver is shocked to discover that a stabbing victim is a young man who was her childhood friend; his family lived opposite to Frankie's house, and after his journalist father was killed on assignment abroad, his mother started drinking heavily and he would seek solace with Frankie and her own parents, who still keep an eye on his mother now. A journalist himself, he was working on some sort of apparent cover-up at a local, very expensive old people's home, owned by a local dignitary. When the police discover that Alice, a former employee at the home, has also gone missing (it was thought she'd gone to live in the US) and her children haven't heard from her for over a year, they investigate further and find that Chris, the young journalist, had been in touch with her. Sensing a link, they start to look at the home and it's workers, and Stone's nephew Ben, who has journalistic ambitions of his own, sees this as a perfect opportunity to impress Stone and Oliver (whom he idolises), but inevitably puts himself in danger. This was another enjoyable instalment in an entertaining series, and at least two more are planned. 8/10

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The Scandal sounds interesting, I don't think I've ever read a book set in Newcastle! 

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"The Stranger Diaries" by Elly Griffiths - this is a stand-alone novel by the author of the Ruth Galloway, and Stephens & Mephisto crime series, and is set in Sussex. Clare Cassidy teaches English at a nearby school, and also creative writing during the holidays, and at the same time is working on a biography of the author R M Holland, who used to live in the house which now forms part of the school's original premises, and in fact his study is still there, complete with many of his personal possessions. He once wrote a famous Gothic horror short story - The Stranger - which is gradually told throughout the book, but the modern day story which unfolds is just as frightening, when one of the other English teachers, and Clare's one-time closest friend, is murdered in her own home. Initially it's seen as either a break-in gone wrong, or that Clare knew her killer, but when another teacher is murdered, this time at the school itself, the police look more closely at the English department. The story is told in 3 different voices, Clare herself, then the detective sergeant who's in charge of the case - Harbinder Kaur, a likeable British Asian who still lives with her parents, loves her mum's cooking and is coming to terms with being gay, and Clare's daughter Georgia. I found the changes of narrator jarred slightly at first, once I got used to one voice it switched to another, but it was interesting to get a different perspective, although I thought Georgia was the weakest (and least used) narrator. But it was well-written and entertaining, if not quite as involving as the Galloway series, and the setting was good, and it felt like a real tribute to the Gothic genre, although it's bang up to date with references to modern popular culture, including a near obsession with Strictly Come Dancing! And even the dog is a major character, bless him. 7.5/10

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