Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My Day in Books

I spotted this at Bev's My Reader's Block This fill-in-the-blanks meme originated at Cornflower Books . Bev spotted it this evening at Tell Me a Story who saw it this morning at Claire's blog and thought it would be an excellent way to avoid writing a review to spend her afternoon. I love doing these sorts of things and just had to jump in as well. Join us--complete the sentences with titles of books you read this year. And go see what the others have done as well.

I began the day by False Pretences

before breakfasting on Donuts

and admiring The Moonstone

On my way to work I saw The Lock Artist

and walked by The House of Silk

to avoid Tom Brown's Body

but I made sure to stop at The Black Tower

In the office, my boss said, What am I doing here?

and sent me to research The Problem of the Wire Cage

At lunch with The Man in the Picture

I noticed A Killing Kindness

in the Leopard

greatly enjoying the Hunger Games

Then on the journey home, I contemplated the Piccadilly Puzzle

because I have Number Sense

and am drawn to the Notes from the Underground

Settling down for the evening Service of All the Dead

I studied The Book of the Crime

by The Daughter of Time

before saying goodnight to An Ideal Husband

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Zone Defence by Petros Markaris

When detectives go on vacation, either they end up detecting a case in the holiday destination or forced to come back home to investigate a pressing case. When Athens Detective Costas Haritos, takes a vacation even the earth rumbles and coughs up a body. Yes. First there is the earth quake and then a corpse. A detective is never off-duty, is he?

Back home, a night-club owner is shot dead near the entrance of his night-club. Haritos takes up the case and handles both the investigations. Who murdered the night-club owner and why?

The story is like an onion (yes, I saw Shrek the millionth time recently). You peel one layer of mystery, there is another layer, you solve one, there is one more to be solved. Markaris takes us into the world of night-clubs, football clubs, politics, opinion polls and corruption in Athens.

We have our crossword crazy detective, poetry writing detective and philosophy spouting detectives. Here, our Costas Haritos is a politically incorrect dictionary reading detective. I love Haritos' wife Adriani and the way she gets her way with Haritos. I love the humour and the twists and turns. I didn't expect the ending. I look forward to reading more books by Petros Markaris.

This book is originally written in Greek and translated in English by David Connolly.

Why are noirs so funny?

Here is some wisdom from Haritos on doctors.

I don't go to the doctor's, because once you start looking, they always find something worse.

But because happy marriages thrive on contrariety, Adriani is terrified of illnesses and I of doctors.

This is my post for Crime Fiction Alphabet Z.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge

I saw Bev @ My Reader's Block doing this. I am signing up too for the Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge.

I'm off on a voyage of discovery as I travel around the world through the books that I read.

My rules for this challenge are:
I have five years to complete my journey. My start date is October 1, 2012 {but you can join this challenge any time} and my end date will be September 30, 2017. I am going to count books that I started from October 1 for this challenge.
I'm choosing my books that take place in a particular country {since one of my primary goals is to learn about other countries} therefor it does not matter to me what country the author is from. If a book takes place in multiple countries then I will count it towards the country that it is mostly set in.

My Book list:
1. The man in the picture by Susan Hill (Italy)(1/10/12)
2. The Caller by Karin Fossum (Norway)(6/10/12)
3. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (USA)(13/10/12)
4. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (England) (17/10/12)
5. The man who went up in smoke by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (Hungary) (22/11/12)
6. Brick Lane by Monica Ali (Bangladesh) (28/11/12)
7. The Black Path by Asa Larsson (Sweden) (3/12/12)
8. Snow Angels by James Thompson (Finland) (6/12/12)
9. The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell (Latvia) (18/12/12)
10. The Long Song by Andrea Levy (Jamaica) (21/12/12)
11. The Expats by Chris Pavone (Luxembourg) (21/12/12)
12. Joe Muller Detective by Auguste Groner (Austria)(16/12/12)
13. The Bat by Jo Nesbo (Australia) (24/12/12)
14. Evil Water by Inger Wolf (Denmark) (2/1/2013)
15. The Eye Collector by Sebastain Fitzek (Germany) (16/1/13)
16. Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin (Scotland) (24/1/13)
17. The Oracle Code (Ukraine)
18. Artic Chill. (Iceland)
19. Lady of Sorrows (Greece)
20. Red Mandarin Dress (China)
21. Inferno (Turkey)
22. The Honey Thief (Afghanistan)
23. Death on the Galician Shore (Spain)
24. If I Never See You Again (Ireland)
25. Dekok and the dead lovers (Netherlands)
26. A Dead Man in Malta (Malta)
27. Treachery in Bordeaux (France)
28. Zugzwang (Russia)
29. Villain (Japan)
30. The Book Of Murder (Argentina)
31. Double Blank (Algeria)
32. How the light gets in (Canada)
33. Death in Breslau (Poland)
34. Love in the Time of Cholera (Columbia)
35. The Jungle Book (India)
36. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Guernsey)
37. The Curse of the Bronze Lamp (Egypt)
38. Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Thailand)
39. A Deal with the Devil by Martin Suter (Switzerland)
40. Disco gor the Departed (Loas)
41. The Black Mountain (Montenegro)
42. Death in Cyprus (Cyprus)
43. Vintage Murder (New Zealand)
44. Death in Zanzibar (Tanzania)
45. Tail of the Blue Bird (Ghana)
46. Beat not the bones (Papua New Guinea)
47. Assignment in Andorra(Andorra)
48. Greenland Breach (Greenland)
49. Kalahari typing school for men (Botswana)
50. Mistaken enemy (Israel / Palestine)
51. Havana Fever (Cuba)
52. The fall of the stone city (Albania)

Friday, 9 November 2012

False Pretences by Margret Yorke

Isabel receives a call from her goddaughter Emily in prison whom she has not met in years. Emily was just four when they last met. So it is no surprise that Emily is changed and Isabel is not able to recognise her. But it is a shock for Emily to see the shaven head and obese girl who had not had a bath in days. After her mother's death, Emily had been living with her friends in a tent on a site taken up for road construction and got involved with the demonstrators. Isabel bails her and takes her home. Isabel feels responsible for Emily, at the same time is reluctant to make her open up about her past.

Godfrey Sutton, a small time crook, is back to the village, where he seduced young and naive Alice. He hoped to marry her and enjoy her inheritance. All didn't go according to plan. After four years, he just wants to check up on Alice. And when he finds Alice has a four year old daughter, he is sure that she is his child and wants to make most out of the situation by demanding money from the aging grandparents. These two quirky characters, Emily and Godfrey, move the story forward. Emily has some secrets. She does not open up about her past. What happened in her past? How did she end up with the demonstrators? What happened to her extended family? Will Godfrey be successful in his mission? Has he at last found his perfect money-making scheme? How will Alice protect her child?

I liked the writing style of Yorke. The opening was interesting and got me hooked immediately. The opening line is

She wanted to scream.

Short and powerful, I think. I couldn't help comparing the writing style and characterisation to my favourite writer Ruth Rendell. Like Rendell, Yorke introduces her characters and the story flows from their character. But I do think Rendell's book are more intense and many times short. Secrets play a huge role in this story. Everybody keeps secrets from everybody else complicating a simple issue.

I found the last one third repetitive. We already know the secrets and when they are divulged to each character again, I lost interest. The end was not as satisfying as the beginning was promising. I had almost similar problem with A Case to answer by Margret Yorke. I loved the characters especially Isabel and Douglas. Douglas with his DIY obsessions, ready criticism and cynicism was spot on.

Absent fathers seem to be playing a huge role in the crime fiction books I had been reading lately. Yorke seems to say bad father is better absent. This book was published in 1998. This is my post for Crime Fiction Alphabet Y.

Friday, 2 November 2012

X is for Qiu Xiaolong

Finding an author whose name starting with X seemed near impossible when I joined the A to Z author challenge. I was quite excited to find an author not just starting with X but a mystery author too. I have never read a book based in China. Ok. I would have read quite a lot based in Hong Kong but never in Mainland China at least not a crime novel.

When Red is Black by Qiu Xiaolong is set in Shanghai and features Inspector Chen, who is on a vacation, so more or less the case is investigated by Inspector Yu. Former Red Guard and University Professor Yin is murdered in her room in a traditional Chinese house. Who murdered her and why? Is it politically motivated? The story focuses more on the changing China, and its political past than the mystery. Oh! There are too many references to food. What Inspector Chen had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any other snacks in between. Food and poetry seem to be Xiaolong's two great passions. Ever heard a girl described liked this

"She was a delicious girl with a watermelon-seed-shaped face, almond eyes, and cherry lips."

This is post for Crime Fiction Alphabet X.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month October 2012

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month October 2012

I read the following Crime Fiction in October 2012. Here are the books

The Caller by Karin Fossum
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Whited Sepulchres by Anne Perry
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The Middle Temple Murder by J S Fletcher
The Service of all Dead by Colin Dexter
A Dark Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine

All the reads this month were terrific. The Maltese Falcon is a great classic, I loved the crazy, 'merry-go-round' mystery. Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell is my favourite writer, and I go crazy over her books. A dark Adapted Eye is the first book by Ruth Rendell writing as Barbara Vine and establishes what to expect from Vine books. I discovered Jo Nesbo this year and I am discovering other Norwegian writers. I enjoyed The Caller by Karin Fossum and look forward to read her other books. The Little Stranger is not strictly crime fiction, but it is. I loved the writing and the mystery. I always loved Inspector Morse, mean, crazy and all. The Service of all Dead is really crazy too.

But the crime fiction pick of the month is The Middle Temple Murder by J S Fletcher, because it had twists and turns, surprises and I didn't guess the killer and most of all it didn't have an open ending unlike the other terrific reads this month. I hate open endings.

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII- Wrap Up

I participated in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII

I am aimed for Peril the First to read four books. I was planning to read mostly thrillers or mysteries, but I went on to read horror too. Here are some of the books I read these two months.

Asta's Book by Barbara Vine
Behold Here's Poison by Georgette Heyer
Phantom by Jo Nesbo
Perfect People by Peter James
The Caller by Karin Fossum
The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill
The Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman