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Shadows in Bronze

by Lindsay Davis

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Finally finished!

& after a page turning start this book really dragged for me, except when the wonderful Helena Justina was on the page.

The book did rescue itself with an ending that had both excitement & a bit of humour, but the story really needed a ruthless pruning to make a much tighter story.

I have more of Davis’s books but I haven’t decided if I will continue with the series.

Silver Pigs

by Lindsey Davis

I liked this novel, but given many of my GR friends love this book/series, I was expecting to enjoy it just a little bit more.

Silver pigs had me thinking;

but they were actually really heavy lead ingots that had been filled with silver & stolen from Roman Britain. Marcus Didius Falco, a wisecracking Roman imperial agent is on the case after (view spoiler) I will say the spoilered plot development took me completely by surprise. (view spoiler)

This book has a lot of detail. Ms Davis really knows her stuff! I thought I was going to catch her out on the use of coriander in Roman cooking, but no – it did grow in Southern Europe back then. But all the detail & twists in the plot really slowed the plot down. I like my hard boiled detective fiction to move a bit faster than this one did.

Saying that, I do own quite a few Falco novels & I am sure I will read the next couple of Falco novels eventually.

The Warrielaw Jewel

The Warrielaw Jewel

The Warrielaw Jewel by Winifred Peck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The aristocratic Edinburgh family is famed for three things – a fabulous jewel that has been in the family’s possession for hundreds of years, their unusual blazing gold green eyes

…and being as crazy as loons.

Newly married & new to Edinburgh, Betty Morrison (a marvellous narrator) is reluctantly drawn into the Warrielaw world. And of course eventually there is a crime…

I loved this book. Published in 1933 this was a historical whodunnit about early 20th century Edinburgh. I loved learning the details of life that Betty dropped – like the pride in early car ownership & that prisoners on remand weren’t allowed to smoke. A large vivid caste of characters that Peck breathed life into so I didn’t have any trouble telling them apart.

There was one moment where I was on the edge of my seat – I can’t remember feeling so fearful for a fictional character in quite some time.

There is an unusual device at 72% (for me)employed in this book. I have never come across this before, but I really liked it. It helped focus my reading.

You may be wondering, with all this praise why this book wasn’t 5★.

While this book was a great detective novel debut, it did have a few flaws. One person is portrayed far more sympathetically in the latter part of the book – can’t be put down to the narrator getting to know him better or a plot twist. It felt more like Peck had changed her mind, but couldn’t be bothered rewriting.

& like many Golden Age mysteries, a far too long exposition at the end.

Tip; I think skimming this exposition would be fine.

But I think it is a real shame that Lady Peck only wrote one further detective story

Arrest the Bishop? by Winifred Peck

and that was around a decade later. I hope to get to this one before the end of the year.…

View all my reviews

The Widows of Malabar Hill

The Widows of Malabar Hill (Perveen Mistry, #1)

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I struggled with this book and it came perilously close to a DNF. Only my interest in the character of Perveen – lawyer/female gumshoe/fighter for women’s rights- enabled me to pick up this book again.

This book had a major stylistic fault.I hate flashbacks at this best of times and the flashbacks in this novel overwhelmed the mystery – and the mystery is what I signed up for. Ms Massey may have done this because the whodunnit part of this novel is very slight. Just not enough meat to sustain a whole book. I think Ms Massey would have been better advised to build up both the mystery, give more depth to the supporting characters and have Perveen’s back story revealed over the course of several books – sort of like Sue Grafton did with Kinsey Milhouse. In particular, her husband Cyrus’s fate could have been left for a sequel.

Also, for such a strong character, Perveen gave up her fight to qualify as a lawyer in 1910s Bombay very quickly. Consistency in character was sacrificed to the storyline.

The writing also had faults. Lots of asking questions, lots of explaining. Made the read very heavy going.

I had an earlier book of Ms Massey’s on one of my to-read lists, but deleted it when this story hit a particularly exasperating road bump. But I don’t rule out reading the next Perveen story The Satapur Moonstone if I read that the author stays in one time period and doesn’t make the next book so much of a history lesson!