The Manton Rempville Murders by Julian Worker

The Manton Rempville murders - Julian Worker

A man is found murdered among the ruins of a medieval monastery. The weapon used is an ancient sword belonging to the nearby Hall. It is obvious that the culprit must be found among its inhabitants, domestics or guests.

This is a strange one,everything points to a country setting in the ,say thirties (gardeners,butler,youngster down from Eton…)but the inspector and his sidekick are using cell phones,e-mails, hi-tech DNA research. The thing is,it doesn’t enrich the story,it has no real added value.

And it just drags on an on(I can imagine the reader tapping her or his fingers on the table!)

And to top it off, the denouement leaves one with a whole list of questions…unanswered questions…

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Son of Zeus by Glyn Iliffe

Son of zeus - Glyn Iliffe

Heracles(Hercules)is the son of Almecedes and Zeus (who slept with her while pretending to be her husband Amphitryon). As a birthday present Zeus gives his son immeasurable physical strenght(he lets Hera nurse him without her knowledge so he acquired this supernatural power of the goddess herself). Well,Zeus’s good lady wife,the goddess Hera,is not best pleased with this dalliance and even less with the outcome. So Hera, who’s middle name is revenge,works out a plan to get rid of this abomination. Meanwhile,Heracles has sowed some of his wild oats and is settled with his loving wife Megara and and their 3 children in Thebes when disaster strikes,in a fit of madness, he kills his 3 sons. After wandering for a while he asks the oracle of Delphi for advice. She tells him in no uncertain terms that if he wants to find out the truth about that night of madness and wants to find some redemption, he has to perform certain labours. For this reason he becomes a slave to his cousin who is king of Tiryns(also thanks to the lovely Hera ). Of course Hera does not want Heracles to find out the truth nor find any atonement so she has her hand in the choice of these famous labours.
This is historical fiction based on Greek mythology but it reads as a fantasy story(the lion of Nemea,a white hind with golden antlers and a seven headed snake)albeit with a sad and bitter undertone. One can not help but feel sorry for this giant who’s life is manipulated by the whims of the gods. This is the first part of the trilogy (3 labours done,9 more to go)but it is not the classic retelling of the myth,Heracles and the other characters are so much more than individual parts of this myth. Yes,I think I will probably follow Heracles his further adventures…

 

Crooks Hollow by Robert Parker

Crook's Hollow - Robert Parker

Someone is trying to kill Thorn Loxley,the estranged youngest son of a farmer dynasty. And then they try again and he decides to deal with this ordeal all by himself. This rural community is somewhat in turmoil,There are developers on the horizon and Thorn owns the deeds to a piece of land that is needed so this company can create a housing estate. The other grounds are owned by another farmer dynasty, the Crook family and needless to say,they are at daggers drawn. And so the attempts to murder Thorn continue… The storyline is not bad and it has a certain potential but none of the characters feel real,they are all so shallow. The book(not really the story)feels immature. And the end is absolutely over the top. Really over the top. Sometimes a good editor is a blessing…

 

 

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

The Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway Mysteries) - Elly Griffiths

Ruth Galloway,a forensic archaeologist,goes to Italy at the request of a Italian colleague (and a former one-night stand). Bones have been found at an excavation that raise a lot of(historical)questions. While Ruth stays in a medieval village in the Lazio region,she is confronted with the strange behaviour of certain characters and of course,murder.
This is the 10th book in this series and as with all series,the quality is somewhat variable. The mystery of the Dark Angel feels like a frame story to the story of Ruth’s relationship with the father of her daughter,a married D.I.,who’s wife is pregnant but perhaps not by him(on/off,on/off, I want you,no,I don’t….)Perhaps closure of this particularly relationship might be a good thing for both the characters and for the storyline.

 

(not quite)Mastering the Art of French Living by Mark Greenside

(Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living - Mark Greenside8

An American buys a house in Brittany (it really doesn’t matter, it could have been Provence,Dordogne,Auvergne…)and is confronted with the inhabitants and their very local habits. Fair enough,but what I don’t get is that the author has spent 2 months every year in Brittany for 25 years and his vocabulary still doesn’t reach beyond bonjour and bonsoir. A copy of French for Dummies would be very appropriate. The result is that both the author and the French sound like complete idiots. Not very respectful towards your adoptive country,is it? And there are some grammatical errors (not the author’s)for instance : probléme instead of problème. Apparently the editor also needed a copy of French for Dummies ). Still,there are some passages in this book that definitely made me smile,always a good thing…but it has been done before and so much better…

 

 

Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley

Dark waters - Mary-Jane Riley

Two men are found dead on a little cruiser moored in the Norfolk broads(small waterways surrounded by marshes,meadows and woodland).
At first sight it looks like a suicide pact,although a strange one as both men don’t seem to have a lot in common. Alex Devlin,a not so very successful journalist,is intrigued by the setup and starts digging….the past has an ugly habit to emerge when you don’t expect it…
What makes this a fabulous read,apart from a very good storyline that keeps you guessing,is the personality of the main character. Yes,she is a nosy journalist,but she is not a monster,she feels guilt,empathy,compassion. It is a welcome change to all the detectives,inspectors,reporters,amateur sleuths who are arrogant, so sure of themselves, rude or absolutely obnoxious…I really liked it !