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Currently reading

The Dead House (Fiona Griffiths Crime Thriller Series)
Harry Bingham
Progress: 35/453 pages
The Big Book of Jack the Ripper (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original)
Otto Penzler
Progress: 210/848 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 35 out of 453 pages.

The Dead House (Fiona Griffiths Crime Thriller Series) - Harry Bingham

even if a rational, level-headed bookworm would have left a book called The Dead House, which takes place in Wales in October, for Halloween reading...I don’t care. this book starts my “Summer Reading Jamboree”, and phooey on anyone who calls this loony. if I had left this book alone for another five months...I would not be in love with it now. which I am. specifically, DS Fiona Griffiths is the best female crime-solver I’ve encountered since Malin Fors, which is saying something! her thing for corpses is freaking me out a little, but I’ve barely got to know her, and I’m sure I won’t be at all bothered by it, in a few more chapters. yeah right.

 

perfect, so far. an unlikely Summer Reading Jamboree launch choice...but perfect.

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 453 pages.

The Dead House (Fiona Griffiths Crime Thriller Series) - Harry Bingham

so here’s how things are going to go:

 

yesterday, on a whim—well, cuz everyone else was doin’ it and I felt left out—I made a Summer Reading List. it was originally 20 books, but I topped it up to 30 choices, so there would be more Spy books (which is another trend around here these days). and, as of now, I’m going to commence reading from that List (so sorry to any books I own that didn’t get included with the 30–I guess you just aren’t “summer-y” enough).

 

first up...a trip to the Welsh countryside, via a very well-reviewed Mystery novel by an author I’m thrilled to finally get to. Happy Summer-List Reading—and any reading—friends!

Reading progress update: I've read 391 out of 469 pages.

A Single Spy - William Christie

a neat twist in the plot...and then pure suspense as Alexsi is caught out in the Berlin streets at night during a British air raid.

 

this has been an entertaining read, but a bit too fragmented to get my true love; the supposed “main plot-line” suggested on the back cover hasn’t really started unfolding until now. again, hard to say just how I will rate it, but there are better Spy books. not bad, not great, this one.

Reading progress update: I've read 283 out of 469 pages.

A Single Spy - William Christie

the story is exciting and tense, but to love this book, I’m going to have to go easy on a very simple, unadorned style with no interesting trimmings. it reads kind of like a Warren Murphy novel, or any of those “Men’s Adventure” novels, like in the Executioner, or Death Merchant series. the book also reminds me of Pursuit, by Robert L. Fish—style and plot-wise—except where that was an infiltrating Nazi in disguise, this is a Russian spy in disguise, infiltrating Nazi Germany. Berlin in 1940, for the last several chapters.

 

hard to say how this book will ultimately rate with me. need to get further.

Reading progress update: I've read 127 out of 469 pages.

A Single Spy - William Christie

geezlouise the sex scenes are very explicit.

Reading progress update: I've read 103 out of 469 pages.

A Single Spy - William Christie

1936: Alexsi has been inserted close to Aida based on their history, so that he can betray her and her anti-Stalin friends at the state university.

Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 469 pages.

A Single Spy - William Christie

Alexi, a clever and resourceful sixteen year old—surviving by his wits alone, and not afraid of violence...but ultimately captured. no doubt the NKVD will make him into a great spy, against the Nazis...

Reading progress update: I've read 2 out of 469 pages.

A Single Spy - William Christie

I have to get in on this Spy mania suddenly erupting around here. Spy fiction is my beloved genre, after all.

Reading progress update: I've read 168 out of 253 pages.

So Pretty a Problem - Francis Duncan

okay, well, it’s no classic, but I’m enjoying it enough that I’m going to try and finish the whole thing tonight (partly because I want to get to a Spy novel, now that there is some kind of Spy novel mania hitting BookLikes in my neck of the woods!).

Reading progress update: I've read 74 out of 253 pages.

So Pretty a Problem - Francis Duncan

one cool thing: this series entry has an atypical story structure compared to the other Mordecai Tremaine Mysteries I read (three); this one is divided into three Sections: Query: At the Time of the Corpse; Background: Before the Corpse; and Exposition: Following the Corpse. I‘m into the middle section now, and it seems that Mordecai had interacted with the dead man and his wife, plus their social circle (soon to be suspects), at various functions, and even by chance (meeting on the street, etc.). I don’t remember anything like this in the other Francis Duncan books I got to earlier, and it’s an interesting feature. of course, it was obvious in the first section that there was a messy backstory attached to Adrian and Helen Carthallow, and that our amateur detective  was somehow snarled up in it...and now I’m getting the unsettling play-by-play.

 

also, Helen seems to lie a lot...

 

this book has the potential to become my favorite amongst Mysteries by this author, if it can stay strong. I do like it a lot, as of page 74. first of four I bought by this author, many moons ago, and seems like a good one to leave for last (well, “last”, for the time being).

"He replaced the newspaper over his face and leaned back. The sun was soothingly warm. The shrill chattering of the gulls and the surge of the waves along the beach merged into a muted background lullaby into which a vague buzzing sound intruded itself for a few moments before dying away. He drifted happily into the cosy world between sleeping and waking.

It did not occur to him to look at his watch—a lapse for which he afterwards castigated himself bitterly—and he was never able to tell with accuracy how long it was before he became aware of the voice that was calling him back to active thought.

It was a woman’s voice. It was a level voice and yet a voice that was terrible in its very calmness, for it was the unnatural calm of hysteria held in a tight rein. It was saying:

“ Please. Come quickly. Please. I’ve killed my husband.”"

So Pretty A Problem, by Francis Duncan (copyright 1950; quote is from page 2 of the Vintage/Penguin Random House trade paperback edition, 2016).

"For the panda everything was for the best in the best of all possible worlds. It was as happy to see the two men return as it had been to see them leave. Its only trick was to keep its arms open. It held nothing and retained nothing. Take it or leave it, it was all the same to him."

The Panda Theory, by Pascal Garnier, translated by Gallic Books (copyright 2008, English translation copyright 2012; quote is from page 67 of the Gallic Books trade paperback edition).

Reading progress update: I've read 14 out of 253 pages.

So Pretty a Problem - Francis Duncan

I’ve only done the first chapter, but events depicted have got me completely hooked. this is the last Francis Duncan novel I had left in my Unread piles, and I have no plans to acquire his Christmas-oriented Mystery, so let’s see if he can do something impressive here. In at the Death is my favorite so far.

Reading progress update: I've read 59 out of 171 pages.

The Panda Theory - Svein Clouston, Pascal Garnier

Gabriel is weird. besides that...I’ve passed the chapter in which he won the stuffed panda, but then I got a bit depressed and ticked off at Gabriel when he just left it in the trash. luckily, it got rescued, and ended up where, earlier, Gabriel went for dinner where there was no dinner but did have dinner anyway. 

 

I get the comparisons to Simenon already, but I’m also flashing back to a short, darkly humorous French novel I read years ago called The Suicide Shop. enjoyable and odd.

Reading progress update: I've read 8 out of 171 pages.

The Panda Theory - Svein Clouston, Pascal Garnier

after how things went with Bussi and Lemaitre (especially Bussi!)...of course I’m ready to meet another French Crime novelist.

Reading progress update: I've read 245 out of 448 pages.

The Far Empty - J. Todd Scott

I’m fully under its spell. the magic, I think, comes from all the intriguing characters...some of them detestable, some of them noble, some just scared. Josh Brolin should definitely play Sheriff Ross!