Read this week

Portsmouth Murders by Pauline Rawson

(prev published as Tide of Death)


Detective Inspector Andy Horton is on his morning run along the beach when he discovers a naked dead body which has been beaten to death. Andy’s second day at work doesn’t get any better after that. He had been suspended for a rape he said he didn’t commit. Most of his colleagues don’t want to work with him.  Then more murders happen. The woman, who accused him and who he wants to find to clear his name, has vanished. A shady businessman, who has a boat in the same marina where Andy has his boat, seems to have some very close links to the police. The story is set in town of Portsmouth on the South Coast of England.

While this seems to follow the classic trope of a troubled policeman, with family issues and problems at work, the main story is into solving crimes. The characters are pretty solid, although some of the dialogue is on the woody side, with way too many comments about people’s weight. The plot is otherwise good, loads of secrets to uncover, and the ending tied just about all the loose ends nicely.

My review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


The Girl in the Photo by Heidi Amsinck

A ninety-year-old Irene is found murdered in her own home in a very affluent part of Copenhagen, Denmark. It looks like a burglary gone wrong as her very expensive necklace was missing. Irene’s daughter hires an investigating journalist named Jensen (Jensen only wants to use her last name) to find the missing necklace. Jensen is reluctant at first but gets on the case with the help of her editor’s nephew, Gustav.

Two more attacks on elderly, an older man killed on his allotment and an older woman is attacked and beaten in a care home. Copenhagen Police Inspector Henrik gets busy investigating the crimes. The trouble is, his and Jensen’s path and their aims collide. The case is complicated by the fact that Henrik and Jensen have a lot of history, romantic history.


This was yet another story about a troubled policeman, also thrown out by his wife. While the plot was ok, I wasn’t really a fan the way it was told. And, I guessed the culprit halfway through. There was also way too much repetition about the relationship/love/lack of love between Jensen and Henrik. Most of it could have easily been edited out. I scrolled past as it stopped being interesting. I wasn’t fan of the characters either, they didn’t ring quite believable. Quite likely this book would’ve been better if I had read the first book, “My Name is Jensen”.

My review: ⭐⭐

Read recently

The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths

Very sad to read the last of the Ruth Galloway book. A skeleton is discovered by builders when they’re renovating a coffee shop. They call Ruth. Ruth has issues, trying to save her department at the university from closing, and her relationship with Nelson. The remains are modern, but they turn out to be of an archeology student missing since 2002. Cathbad gets involved too, and then he disappears. Trails lead to Neolithic mines.

It was a very good read, as always. Ruth’s and Nelson relationship goes up and down. He is married after all. Elly Griffiths manages to tie a lot of loose ends. On one hand I wish there were more books about Ruth and Nelson to come, on the other hand, I think the ending was just perfect.

My review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Please note that the cover for the UK is different. Much better in my opinion.




Last Respects by Catherine Aird

Last Respects is #10 of Calleshire Chronicles books. First published in 1980ies. I’ve read the previous ones, mostly pretty good reads. Solid plots, mostly believable characters. Detective Inspector CD Sloan is a good one. What is a bit odd is that his assistent, Constable Crosby is always made to be not very good at anything and he drives way fast too. And yet, he seems to be rather solid PC if somewhat plodding.

In Last Respects a local fisherman finds a body floating about in the river. Police is called to investigate, they haul the body back to dry land. It then turns out that the cause of death was not by drowning and CD Sloan gets involved. A few more deaths, and unfortunately I was able to figure out who did it well before CD Sloan.

Catherine Aird’s writing while otherwise solid, is littered with adverbs. When the body was found, “I’ll have to report it to the Headquarters, said Ridgeford importantly…” response a bit later “Sorry, Mr Ridgeford,’ lied Horace fluently.” “And, the policeman added drily..” While not all adverbs are bad but having them in every other sentence it gets a bit tiring. Times have changed in that regard.

My review: ⭐⭐




Going Zero by Anthony McCarten

This one wasn’t my typical read as it’s more of a thriller. The premise is interesting though, especially if you’re interested any sort of technology. The story reminded me of one of my favorite TV shows, “Person of Interest”. In it, like in this book, someone has created a massive machine or a surveillance program to find people before or after they commit crimes. In “Person of Interest” the machine didn’t say if the person was the perpetrator or the victim.

In Going Zero, the CIA is partnering with a Silicon Valley techie, Cy Baxter, who has created a program called FUSION. The purpose of FUSION is to do surveillance, to “save lives”.  Before it’s rolled out, it needs to be tested. Ten people have been selected to be part of the test. At the appointed time, all ten will get a message “Going Zero” after which they have just two hours to disappear, turn off their phones, get off the grid. The purpose of FUSION is then to find them. One of the contestants is a librarian, and she’s initially thought to be the easiest to be found. But she’s giving Cy Baxter and FUSION run of their money, for her own reasons.

The plot was good. Granted, it was a bit unbelievable, but the story flowed pretty well. The author is a screenwriter, so he knows how to keep the speedy pace. It’s twisty, with rapid turns, and plenty of action. The ending was rather good, somewhat surprising too.

My review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐



Read this week – The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I’ve heard so much about this one, and I’m sure most of you have read The Silent Patient already. I finished it in few hours the other day, and now I’m a bit on the fence about it. It was selected by Amazon editors as Best Thriller 2019. (as mentioned I’m late into this one)
The Silent Patient is a psychological thriller/mystery.
Alicia’s life seems to perfect. She’s a famous painter and married to a photographer, Gabriel. They live in a nice house in London. One evening her husband returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times, and then she stops speaking altogether. She refuses even to speak in her own trial. She’s sent to a mental hospital
It’s a pretty quick read. The story is written from the POV of a psychotherapist, Theo. The premise was good, Theo gets a job in the hospital where Alicia has been for eight years. She’s never said a word. He wants to treat Alicia to get her to talk again. Theo then goes onto describing what he does, and what happens. The final twist was pretty good. But, I had issues concerning the descriptions of the patients, methods and the hospital. The writing was a bit sloppy too, a lot of poorly written dialogue and a lot of the side plots or red herrings weren’t tied up in the end. And the big WHY, as in why Theo wanted to get her to talk was left dangling, so the beginning and the end didn’t really tie up.
When I’m two minds about a book, I go to Goodreads and read reviews there to see if I’m the only one. This book has a staggering 1.5million (!!!) ratings and 137K reviews, and 56K of those are 5 stars! So clearly a lot of people liked it.
I checked the 1-star ones, of which there are 2500. And most of those reviews had very valid concerns how mental illnesses and treatments were described in this book. The 1star reviewers were also very disappointed with lack of research by the author. For an author, that kind of reviews are very bad if they’re about your own book, but very helpful and educational to read as what not to do, if they’re about someone else’s book.
Have you read it, and if so, what did you think?
My review: ⭐⭐

Read this week – Women Without Mercy

Women without Mercy by Camilla Läckberg

After hearing good things about Camilla Läckberg, I decided to give her a try. I borrowed Women Without Mercy. As I was in a hurry to get something to read, I didn’t read the blurb. Instead, I downloaded it and jumped right into reading it.
The story about three different women was initially engaging so I kept on reading for bit more than an hour, and then all of a sudden, the story was done, the end! It turned out that this book is a novella, and the ending was not very exciting at all, I’m sorry to say.
After I finished it, I went to Goodreads and read the blurb there, and it basically gives away most of the story. The point of the blurb is to entice the reader to buy and read the book, right? In this case, most of the book is already given away in the blurb and when it comes to the murder part, those are just thrown in with loads of loose ends.
It looks to me that this book was started as a good idea, based on the classic “Strangers on the train” but didn’t quite manage to bring a good start to an equally good finish.
My review: ⭐⭐

Read this week – Murder and Medling

Murder and Medling by Ovidia Yu

If you haven’t read Ovidia Yu’s Singapore Mysteries, you’re missing out, methinks. They’re good ones for a few hours of armchair travel to a different part of the world.
They’re lighter mysteries, with Rosie Lee solving crimes in Singapore. She’s the chef and the owner of a restaurant in Singapore, an opinionated lady of certain age, with a lovely Filippino maid Nina as sidekick. You learn quite a bit about food and life in Singapore, which is a wonderful city where I’d love to go for a visit again.
My review: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
I just finished the latest in the series, Meddling and Murder (#4) where Aunty Lee (as Rosie Lee is known), is having issues with Nina who, Aunty thinks, should marry a detective. Nina, doesn’t want to, and Aunty lends her out to a sister of a friend whose own maid’s gone missing. A couple of murders later, Aunty manages save Nina and find out the killer, just in time.
I give this one 3.5 stars, it should get 4, as the story is pretty good, but in this book there’s an issue with lack of indication who is talking to who and where. Towards the end one has to read carefully to keep up. I didn’t figure out the guilty party until near the end, but the end was still a nice surprise.
While you can read this one as a standalone, you’re better off starting from the first of the series, Aunty Lee’s Delights.  You’ll get to know the characters better and get a feel for the place too.

Read this week – Silverview

Silverview by John Le Carré

I’ve read just about all John Le Carré’s books and liked them too. Most of them start a bit slow until the story catches a thread at a time and gets going. This one, his final book, started rather slow too. A small-town bookshop owner meets a slightly over-inebriated gentleman who claims to have known his father. A woman with a baby delivers a letter to a London house. She’s been told to wait for a response. These two incidents then start a whole process of actions in typical Carré manner, to find out if there’s been a leak in security and if so, who the culprit is. The book was completed by Le Carré’s son after the author’s death.


My review ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The story is low key, nothing much really happens. Most of it is told as memories by multiple people to explain the behaviour and motivations of different people in the past. How spies get to be spies and how they stop, or can a spy actually stop being a spy? And typically to Carré, everybody has their reasons for doing things, staying in the shadows. The book is short, only 200 pages. I liked it.

Read this week – Riccardino and The Cook of the Halcyon

Review of the last Montalbano books, The Cook of the Halcyon and Riccardino

Admission, I’ve read all Montalbano books by Andrea Camilleri. And watched the TV-series. Most of the books have been excellent and the TV series has made them alive. Those of you who haven’t read them/watched them yet, you really should.

The two last books are a bit different. The Cook of the Halcyon was apparently written for TV and then it became a book instead. Riccardino was written already 2004, as Mr. Camilleri wanted the series to end his way. When he lived longer than he expected to, he updated it later.

The Cook of the Halcyon by Andrea Camilleri

This is the next to last book, #27. The title is a bit odd. Halcyon is actually a huge yacht, a pleasure boat, Montalbano sees in the harbor, and he gets interested in it as they are loading an awful lot of pricy food on it, good wines and other drinks too. Then he sees a beautiful woman, who he had seen earlier boarding the boat and plot thickens. Throw in a murder or two, an American and even FBI in need of help, and things get complicated, very fast.

My review: ⭐⭐⭐

This wasn’t the best of the Montalbano books, I’m sad to say. It’s rather different. As mentioned, it was originally written for TV. It’s still pretty good, plenty of murders and action and the ending was a surprise. But it was lacking the usual Montalbano flair of plotting and character, it read a bit more like an action thriller type which would have likely been great on TV but as a book it lacked nuance and sometimes it goes rather over the top.



Riccardino by Andrea Camilleri

This is the last book in Montalbano series, the final episode, #28. It was written well before Andrea Camilleri died. He sent it to his publisher saying to keep it in the drawer and publish it after his death.
The book starts with Montalbano receiving a call. Not as usual by Catarella but from someone named Riccardino who asks him when he’s going to show up. Montalbano who doesn’t like being woken up early in the morning, says, 10 minutes and hangs up. Clearly it was someone who had dialed a wrong number. Soon later, Montalbano gets another call, about a murder, someone had been shot right infront of his friends. And off we go, the usual Montalbano style.

My review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The book starts the usual Montalbano fashion, he visits the site of the murder, he starts to interview people, but he’s not supposed to handle the case. It’s going to be handled by an upstart from the Flying Squad instead! Montalbano gets a visitor, a fortune teller, who wants to report a strange case of a truck driver leaving packages in an odd place. Montalbano sets out to investigate but then he gets the murder case back because of the bishop insists on it. To complicate matters further, the Author enters in the book complaining that Montalbano isn’t handling things well and may not be up to the job any longer. The “real” Montalbano feels he’s losing to TV Montalbano, that he’s losing the plot and he’s not happy about it.

This book is written a bit differently for sure. Adding the Author in the story makes it rather multilevel in a way. I’m two minds about it whether it’s good or bad. Mostly it works, as Camilleri is a good writer, and the basic story is still classic Montalbano. The ending was very unexpected. It’s an enjoyable read, and a sad read. I’m really sad that the series has come to an end. RIP Mr. Camilleri, RIP Montalbano.


Read this week – Atlas Shrunk

Atlas Shrunk by Jon Philip Rosenberg

It’s 2008 and the presidential election is coming up in the USA. It’s going to be historic. The economy is in a tailspin. The candidate who looks like he could win, is not going to, as he’s found dead, in a room, locked from the inside.

An investigation into his murder leads to a deep dive into banks around the world, their records and a murder.

My review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It’s a bit a change of pace to read something about another disasterous time, the worldwide financial crisis when we’re currently midst of another worldwide crisis, the Covid pandemic.
Rosenberg’s story about big banks and murder, the crisis and the cover up, assasination and how linked all the systems are worldwide. It’s a good story, it flows nicely. I liked it. The characters are mostly well done, and the story is rather belieavable, I’m sorry to say, as it’s rather scary when you start thinking about it.
It’s a good read, if you’re in KU, as the price even for an ebook is a bit too high to my liking.


Read this week – The Nighthawks

“The Nighthawks” by Elly Griffiths

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

This is book 13 in the Ruth Galloway series. Ruth is back at the University of North Norfolk. A group of guys searching buried treasures with metal detectors on the beach in North Norfolk when they find a recently deceased body. Nelson initially thinks the body could belong to an asylum seeker, but it turns out to be a local boy, Jem, instead.  It seems the boy could have accidentally drowned. But when two more dead bodies are found, things get very complicated, suggesting murder.

My review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve read all ruth Galloway books and I liked them all.  This one, I think, is the best so far. The previous book, The Lantern Men, was perhaps a bit weak, but with the Nighthawks Ruth is back in business. She has been promoted and is now the head of the department, with her own corner office and a coffee machine. She has hired a new lecturer to take over her old job.

But people are not what they seem, and everybody seems to have a lot to hide. There are the Nighthawks, the group of men searching for Viking treasures and Bronze Age coins on the beach, instead they find a body. A dead couple found in an old very creepy house, and the new lecturer Ruth just hired seems to be a bit too friendly.  I couldn’t figure out the killer, nor the motive, and the twists in the end were totally surprising.


Read this week – The Death of Mrs Westaway

Do you ever get in a book-rut? I’ve been into one for a while now. I’ve recently read 4 or 5 books, by authors I’ve liked before. These have been books number 15 to 20 in their respective series. And I’ve been rather disappointed by each one of them. The latest disappointment was a mix of a travel brochure and romance except it was supposed to be a mystery. Granted a cozy one but when every other page describes how hunky the husband is, and how hunky the other guys who pop up are, it was wearing me out. And then getting recipes in a book where the main character barely knows how to boil an egg. I mean really! And unfortunately, the plot was very weak too and whodunnit was clear just about a mile away. 🙁
The other equally recent one was more like a travel book as well. While it’s nice to read about a place I haven’t visited for eons, it had just way too many detailed descriptions about the place, it’s history and clothing, and those got repeated multiple times. There was too little of the actual mystery. And even with this one, I figured it out halfway through. So no fun! And no, not naming these books as when it comes to reading and taste, we all have our own. 🙂  I only post reviews of books I like.
But I’m happy to note that I just got out of that rut by a good one. “The Death of Mrs Westaway” is a good mystery, not stellar, but a good one. I’ve read a couple of Ruth Ware’s books before and liked them. Solid mysteries for the most part.

The Death of Mrs Westaway” by Ruth Ware

This story is about a hard-down on her luck young woman who recently had lost her mother. An intriguing letter from a solicitor arrives, telling her that she’s been mentioned in a testament by her grandmother. It’s just that she thinks the letter was not meant for her. But she decides to go to the funeral anyway. The story is set in Brighton, Penzance and Cornwall in general.
My review: ⭐⭐⭐
The start is very good, plenty of suspense. The main character, Hal, is a likeable person, who after reading tarot cards decides to spend the money she doesn’t really have to go to the funeral, just to get away from Brighton. She hops on a train and travels to Penzance.
I liked the characters, most of them came across as real people. The plot was rather good, the flash backs blended in nicely and gave a good idea where the story was going.
The story is a slight take on “Rebecca”, not as gothic or scary.  I figured it out whodunit about halfway through, but it was interesting enough to keep reading to the end to see if I was right as well as find out the motive.
I didn’t like the ending much, it required suspending belief quite a bit, and motives of the title character were left pretty unclear. Not everything was tied together either, a few lose ends left hanging.
But all and all pretty good read which I can recommend.