Brrrr! Fall is slipping away quickly here in Chicagoland and winter is tiptoeing in! I don’t know about you, but when the weather starts to turn, all I REALLY want to do is curl up in my favorite chair under a cozy blanket with a hot cup of tea and a good book!
Lucky for you, I’ve got three really great mysteries that are recent releases – no waiting! So let’s get started: it’s time for What I’m Reading Wednesday and the “Books for a Cold Day” edition.
There is something about Tana French’s style of writing that is instantly identifiable. Her books have a very distinctive feel – a bit dark, a bit oppressive, and despite the heaviness you find yourself drawn into the story. The title of her newest crime novel The Secret Place comes from a bulletin board at St. Kilda’s, a boarding school for girls in Dublin, where the students can anonymously pin up their secrets and confessions. On this board, a year after a student from the neighboring boys’ school was found murdered on St. Kilda’s grounds, someone pins a note “I know who killed him”.
The story follows Detective Stephen Moran as he teams up with Detective Antoinette Conway to solve the mystery. Moran wants to join the Murder Squad; Conway is a bit of a black sheep in the squad and as tough and prickly as they come. They face resistance from the Headmaster, wanting no more bad publicity for the school. They also learn just how complicated and vindictive teenage girls can be – as well as how deep their loyalties can run.
The ending caught me off guard, which is always a treat! It is a bit of a heavy read, so to offset the weight of it, Karin Tanabe’s The Price of Inheritance is a great story to follow with.
A bit of mystery, a bit of romance, a bit of humor – it’s a well-balanced story. Carolyn Everett, a successful young specialist in American Furniture at the prestigious Christie’s auction house finds herself caught up in a scandal and soon unemployed. She returns to Rhode Island where everything appears to be in sharp contrast to her New York life – the faded, tired sofa in her more tired rental versus her expensive, tony New York apartment, and a rough Marine versus her polished on-again-off-again boyfriend.
Working in a tiny antique store she stumbles upon a piece of pottery that draws the interest of many and leads her to the aforementioned Marine. She’s soon plunged into a mystery that has plenty of twists and turns – so much so that I had to reread a few bits to make sure I was keeping up with the ending!
Last on my list tonight is Harbor Island. I’ve been a fan of Carla Neggers for some time .The fourth installment in her Sharpe and Donovan series finds FBI Emma Sharpe, along with her grandfather, a world-famous art detective, still hunting down an art thief. His first theft was an ancient Celtic cross; with every new heist he leaves behind a copy of the same Celtic cross.
The continued storyline picks up when a woman she is supposed to meet with is found dead holding a stone with a copy of that same ancient Celtic cross. Where the book differs from the Tara French series is that the backstory is a bit more dependent on the previous books in terms of what is driving them. That is not to say this isn’t a good book or that it couldn’t be read as a standalone – it was, but I think I would have appreciated reading the series in order in this instance to really get the nuances of what is going on. The book starts off at a fast pace but slows a bit – but I can’t wonder if it was more because I was trying to figure out the missing elements of the backstory. It was a great light read – perfect for my cold winter afternoon – and I will be going to the library to grab the earlier books in this particular series.
So tell me – what are YOU reading right now that has you looking forward to curling up in YOUR comfy chair?
Many thanks to both NetGalley for advanced reader copies in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and grammatical errors are completely my own.