Apologies for my absence (again!). I should really consider moving to a place where the weather doesn’t spontaneously go from 16°C to 30°C and give me the worst migraines as a result. It seems doubtful that I’ll ever get caught up on my reviews, but I want to at least try to make a dent in the list, so here’s another mini reviews post. Hope you’re all avid crime readers! (but since the argument can be made that all reading is clue-hunting and interpretation is sleuthing, every bookworm is a detective 😉 ).
I know, you’ve probably read too many thoughts on this one already, so I’ll make it short. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is (insert your favorite superlative) and I can’t recommend it enough. Apart from being a suspenseful account of a true crime, it is a study of the 19th century and the beginnings of the detective branch in England. If you ever wanted to know how quickly people then could expect to arrive by coach or train, how news were dispersed, what attitudes were prevalent towards the police and especially the new detectives, then this should be your read. Also, if you want to know more about how the new detectives were regarded and how they shaped literature, look at The Moonstone and other detective stories of that age. I found the reconstruction of 19th century England and the Road Hill Murder very well-done and hats off to Summerscale for combining serious research (the bibliography made me drool) and scholarship with great storytelling!
A Red Herring Without Mustard is the third Flavia book and Bradley has yet to disappoint. Apart from having another great title, this instalment is at least as great as the ones before. Flavia is her usual charming self, gypsy lore abounds, we get to know more about chemistry and I especially loved Flavia’s relationships with her sisters and the inspector. Also, gotta love Flavia’s lively commentary :
Alone at last! Whenever I’m with other people, part of me shrinks a little. Only when I am alone can I fully enjoy my own company.
I really should reread it!
The Case of the Missing Servant is a cosy crime set in India (you see, I am broadening my horizon etc). Vish Puri, most private investigator, is something of an Indian Poirot, if you like these sort of comparisons. He is small, round and his little gray cells are definitely in working order. Usually he screens prospective marriage partners for the families but then he is asked by a lawyer to look into the death of his maidservant, of whose murder he is accused. This book is not only a cosy mystery, it is also very funny and provides us with a great look at present-day India without falling into the trap of presenting the country as the exotic other. I’ve also read that India Today finds Hall’s look at India convincing (which had me a bit worried as at one point, a character in the book can’t phone the police since their line isn’t working likely due to not having paid their bill! You can’t let Germans read that without a warning! 😉 ). Needless to say, I’ll be reading the sequel soon.
As always, let me know if you’ve reviewed these books, and I’ll add a link!