cat63 (cat63) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 93-95 for 2013

93. Home Improvement - Undead Edition edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni Kelner. 323 pages

Collection of short stories on a theme which is hopefully obvious from the title.

As with most collections of short stories the quality is a little variable, but I enjoyed most of them. I think my favourites were Kelner's "In Brightest Day" (I'd like to read more about Dodie, the irreverent houngan), Patricia Briggs' "Gray" and Seanan McGuire's "Through This House"

I shall be looking for more books by all of those and probably seek out more of Harris and Kelner's anthologies.

94. Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy. 604 pages.

This series started out as a fairly light-hearted supernatural adventure series for teenagers. With each book it seems to have become progressively darker and less obviously intended for the readers the first one was clearly aimed at - and this book more than ever when Landy kills off several long-standing characters and does extremely unpleasant things to a number of others.

The book resolves some of the conflicts which have been building up through the last few books and sets up others.

As an aside, there's a character in the series who is male, but whose brain has ended up in a female body. He thinks of himself as male and, I'm pleased to see, the author consistently refers to him as male throughout, something that isn't always done correctly.

I'm keenly anticipating the next book in the series.

95.Fallen Into The Pit by Ellis Peters. 303 pages

I love Peters' Brother Cadfael series to bits. Her series about the Felse family, of which this is the first, I'm not quite as enamoured of. Not that they're bad, but they lack the air of calm clarity that pervades the Cadfael books. This one felt somehow cumbersome by comparison….

It's set just after WWII and the plot involves a German ex-POW named Helmut Shauffler, who has antagonised many of the inhabitants of the village of Comerford, where George Felse is police sergeant. George's son Dominic and his friend Catherine* find the murdered body and Dominic becomes drawn into the investigation against his father's wishes.

I worked out who the murderer must be by around page 100, but I wanted to see how the characters worked it out - and it turned out that I hadn't got all the details of the motive quite right, so that was good - I like to be able to work these things out, but not for them to be too predictable.

I shall probably read more of these, but not quite as keenly as the Cadfael series.

*referred to throughout the book by her nickname of "Pussy" which made me cringe. Presumably it was a perfectly innocent name in 1951 when the book was first published.
Tags: crime fiction, fantasy

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