August 14th, 2013


Book 145: The Blood Pit by Kate Ellis

Book 145: The Blood Pit (Wesley Peterson #12).
Author: Kate Ellis, 2008.
Genre: Police Procedural. Murder Mystery. Archaeology.
Other Details: Hardback. 352 pages.

Never has DI Wesley Peterson witnessed such a bizarre crime scene. The victim, Charles Marrick, has been murdered, his body drained of blood. Described by those who knew him as 'evil', it seems that Wesley isn't going to have any shortage of suspects - until a popular local vet is murdered in an identical fashion...and a third body is discovered many miles away.

And when Wesley's archaeologist friend, Neil Watson, starts getting disturbing anonymous letters written in gory detail about macabre events at a medieval abbey - which Neil fears are being sent by the killer Wesley is looking for - Wesley wonders whether there could be a connection between all these deaths and Neil's letters. And could Neil himself be in danger?
- synopsis from UK publisher's website.

Another top-notch instalment in this series of police procedurals set in South Devon. Again Ellis' formula of combining present and near past crimes with a historical mystery works well though I will admit that there were times when I wondered how these various strands would all come together. Yet they did and with actually quite a shocking twist.

I am quite pedantic about reading series such as this in order though Ellis is quite good about keeping plot details of her previous books quite vague while supplying details of each of the leading and supporting character's backgrounds to fill in new readers of the series if they happen to start at that point.
miss fisher

Book 146: Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood

Book 146: Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher #4).
Author: Kerry Greenwood, 1992.
Genre: Period Fiction. 1920s Australia. Crime Fiction.
Other Details: Unabridged Audiobook (5 hours, 30 mins). Read by Stephanie Daniel.

Driving home late one night, Phryne Fisher is surprised when someone shoots out her windscreen. When she alights she finds a pretty young man with an anarchist tattoo dying on the tarmac just outside the dock gates. He bleeds to death in her arms, and all over her silk shirt. Enraged by the loss of the clothing, the damage to her car, and this senseless waste of human life, Phryne promises to find out who is responsible. But she doesn’t yet know how deeply into the mire she’ll have to go: bank robbery, tattoo parlours, pubs, spiritualist halls, and anarchists. Along this path, Phryne meets Peter, a scarred but delectable wharfie who begins to unfold the mystery of who would need a machine gun in Melbourne. But when someone kidnaps her cherished companion, Dot, Phryne will stop at nothing to retrieve her. - synopsis from Poison Pen Press website.

In addition to the murder of the young anarchist, Phryne also takes on a case that involves locating a missing teenage girl, who had been upset when her father put his foot down over her desire to join an Anglican convent. The girl attends the same school as Jane and Ruth, Phryne's recently adopted daughters, and so they are able to provide clues that lead Phryne to uncover the disturbing truth linked to the girl's disappearance.

This was another novel that had been adapted for the TV series so I did know in advance a number of plot points though there was still plenty of aspects that were new to me. It is rather interesting to see what had been trimmed for the TV adaptation and what is changed. Phryne certainly has more sexual adventures on the printed page than in the TV series.

The audio edition contained an interview with Kerry Greenwood that filled in a number of historical details including that she had researched the 1928 period with special emphasis upon the dock strike in Australia while at university and this had influenced her decision to set the novels in that year.

Book #40: Walk the Lines by Mark Mason

Number of pages: 382

Mark Mason's book charts his efforts at walking along the routes taken by the London Underground lines. During the book he talks about everything he sees, including notes about the geography of the areas he visits and random things that he observes on the way, as well as including fascinating historical facts (plus some very geeky ones regarding individual stations), plus he talks about various people he interviews on the way, such as the actor who voiced the "Mind the Gap" announcement heard often at the London underground station platforms.

While this book is something that most people will either love or hate, depending on whether they are interested in the subject matter, I enjoyed this enormously. Mark Mason's writing displays a sense of humour similar to that of Bill Bryson, except without the surrealism, and you almost get a sense of being on his journey with him. While I felt a bit disappointed at a few moments when it felt like the book rushed past areas with barely any comment, walks through other areas of London were covered in a lot of detail, and I could imagine him walking around with a notebook, constantly jotting stuff down that he wanted to put into the book. The chapter where he and a friend did the "Circle Line pub crawl" was one of the most entertaining of all.

Next book: The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne)