Clara Maynard's blog

The Concrete Blonde

I’ve been working my way through Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series and the latest that I’ve read was The Concrete Blonde. Harry’s in trouble when the widow of The Dollmaker, a serial killer, accuses him of shooting the wrong man and sues him. New evidence surfaces when a blonde woman’s body is found in the concrete under a burned out building. Is she a new Dollmaker victim? Did Harry shoot the wrong suspect? He begins to have doubts himself. And he’s in the middle of a budding relationship and the case begins to affect that. Connelly is an excellent writer and there are lots of plot twists to keep you interested. 

cover of The Concrete Blonde

 

Sandrine's Case

This title caught by attention because of the cover art initially. The picture is a tasteful painting of a nude woman preparing for bed. Then I realized it was by Thomas H Cook, who has won many awards for his mystery novels. In Sandrine’s Case, Sandrine, a professor at Coburn College, has died, apparently from suicide. But her husband, Sam, has been arrested and is being tried for her murder. Through Sam’s memories, we find that Sandrine was a fascinating, brilliant and passionate woman. Over the years, the couple’s relationship had become troubled and she had recently been diagnosed with a terrible illnesses.  At times we’re not sure whether he killed her or not. Sam’s perception of his wife is changed by the revelations that come to light during the trial. The climax to this most satisfying read is enlightening and surprising. 

cover of Sandrine's Case

 

Dissolution

Dissolution is set in 16th century England when Henry VIII had broken with the church in Rome and Cromwell was campaigning to close all of the monasteries. When one of Cromwell’s men is killed at a remote monastery he sends Matthew Shardlake, a humpbacked lawyer, to solve the murder. In addition to trying to solve the mystery, Matthew must deal with increasing doubt about Cromwell’s motives and methods. Readers who like Ellis Peter’s mysteries will like this as it is rich in period detail. And the author does keep you guessing; at least he kept me guessing!  

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The Expats

Kate Moore has a dream life. She’s living a luxury life in Luxembourg. However, Kate is a former CIA agent and her past is filled with dark secrets. Her husband, Dexter, does not know. Once in Europe, Dexter becomes secretive also, working for a banking client that he cannot name. Another American couple becomes their friends, but Kate soon realizes that they are not what they seem. Is her past catching up to her? Are her husband and children in danger? The Expats was very entertaining, and hard to put down, especially when twists and turns start to happen in the plot. 

cover of The Expats

 

Margin for Error

Edna Buchanan has won the Pulitzer Prize for her crime reporter, and she has a popular following for her Britt Montero mystery series. Britt is a Miami crime reporter and she is not pleased when Hollywood movie star Lance Westfell arrives to shadow her in preparation for his new movie. Britt doesn’t want to babysit a movie star, but her boss demands it. Lance is being stalked by an obsessed fan, and soon violent things start to happen. Also, Britt falls for Lance so a little romance sweetens the story. Margin For Error was not my usual cup of tea, but I might read some of the other Britt Montero mysteries as I did like the character. 

Edgar Awards 2013

cover of live by night

 

 

The Mystery Writers of America announced their Edgar Allan Poe Award winners recently. Here are the winners:


Best Novel    Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
Best 1st Novel  The Expats by Chris Pavone
Best Paperback  The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

 

The Dogs of Riga

I’ve been reading the Wallander series since PBS ran a series of TV adaptations based on this series. The Dogs of Riga is the second of the series, translated from the original Swedish. When the story starts out Wallander is mourning the death of his mentor, worried over his father and daughter, and upset over his wife leaving him. Sweden is changing, the crime rate is going up, and he’s not sure if his efforts to combat that are being effective. He is thinking about applying for a private security job. Then two male bodies are found in a life raft, tortured and executed. The case leads to the country of Latvia, and Wallander is asked to assist their police. His experiences there are life changing. I enjoy the look at a different country, in this case two different cases, and Wallander is a complex, flawed but enjoyable hero. 

dover of the dogs of riga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Devotion of Suspect X

 

cover of The Devotion of Suspect X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yasuko is being stalked by her ex-husband, who winds up in her apartment threatening her and her daughter. They wind up killing him in self-defense. Her next door neighbor Ishigami, a genius who teaches math at the local high school, volunteers to dispose of the body for her. She knows he has a crush on her but she doesn’t realize how devoted to her he is. Throughout the book, through all the twists and turns, the suspense lies in seeing if Yasuko and Ishigami will get away with their cover-up. The Devotion of Suspect X is written by Japan’s most popular author and I can really see why he is a bestselling author there.  This title definitely y kept my interest and I look forward to future translations of his work

Blue Shoes and Happiness

On a long trip recently, I brought a copy of Blue Shoes and Happiness. This is part of the popular Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.  The titles offer a view of everyday life in Botswana as the ladies seek to earn an honest living as detectives.  In this title, Mma Ramotswe is married now and Mma Makutsi is engaged. A customer named Poppy comes to them.

Line of Fire

I’ve read and enjoyed Stephen White’s series featuring Boulder psychologist Alan Gregory throughout the years. There are 18 previous novels and in Line of Fire, White starts to bring the series to a close. Alan and his friend Sam Purdy have a deep, dark secret and events have made it likely that their secret will be revealed. At the same time that they are dealing with this, Alan’s business partner, Diane, is coping with recent traumas and she is not doing well at all. The summer has been very dry and wildfires are blazing in the countryside around Boulder. The real mystery here is not who did it, but whether Alan and Sam can make it out of this.

cover of Line of Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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