Monday, 27 August 2007

Two Mysteries

Finished Aug 26
The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
This is the first mystery I've read by Camilleri and I really like his style. His main character, Inspector Salvo Montalbano, is a good policeman who trusts his instincts and knows his area. The mystery is set in Sicily and there is a lot of mention of the crime the area is known for. Here, Silvio Lupanello, a local political leader, is found dead in his car, with his pants around his knees in a part of town known for prostitution and drug dealing. The case seems straightforward, but Montalbano notes small discrepencies and follows up on them, while still keeping the politicians happy. There is good characterization and humour here and I will definitely try some more by this author.

Finished Aug 25
Gone to Ground by John Harvey
Every Harvey book I read makes me like this writer more, and this one is no exception. Set in Cambridge, a body of a gay academic, Stephen Bryan, is found. Is it an encounter gone wrong? Detectives Will Grayson and Helen Walker consider the possibilities. There is an ex-lover, Mark McKusick, who seems to have remained on good terms with Bryan, but could he have been involved. What motive is there behind the removal of Bryan's computer, disks and papers on his book in progress. Why doesn't Stella Leonard's family want him writing about her? The questions are many, but the answers don't come easily. Stephen's sister, Lesley, a BBC radio reporter starts looking into the connection between the biography he was working on and his death. What about the hate crime against gays in the area? and does it have any relation to this case? Will is afraid of missing something by concentrating too hard on one perpetrator, but doesn't want to seem to be grasping at straws. The characters show real emotions and weaknesses and their suspicions are not always unbiased by their own backgrounds. I found it very engaging and hard to put down.

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