Wicked Stitch by Amanda Lee

I brought this book into hospital with me thinking – a cozy mystery, this should keep my22891389 mind off things. It did until I got to ‘… the both of …’. Then it started to annoy me. Then there was a second act of bad grammar – ‘… the both of …’ again!! Then the relationship between the main character and her detective boyfriend was just too sickeningly sweet. Ugh! The dog and rabbit making friends was sweet, but got a little too much and really, what sort of hunting dog makes friends with a rabbit? I hated the condescending nickname the boyfriend had for the main character, and the food they were eating sounded ick. All those croissants with chicken salad filling, not to mention all the pizza and other junk! How obese are these people? Pity because the mystery part was good but not enough to rescue this. I could go on but maybe I should stop my rant here before I get all annoyed again. You can bet that I am not going to read another in this series, or anything by this author.

A Curious Indian Cadaver – Sharmini Flint

11486977I’ve read a few of the Inspector Singh Investigates mysteries and they are fun and lighthearted (even though they are stories about solving instances of violent death). Inspector Singh is in India this time, dragged there by his wife for a family wedding. Mrs Singh has a greater role in this story and curiously, she backs him up on many occasions (which makes him suspicious teehee!). The mystery centres on a runaway bride just before an arranged marriage is to take place.

I decided to read this for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge – read a novel where all POV are of people of colour. Now, I have massive arguments about the use of the term ‘people of colour’. It is only used in the US and people from other countries who are doing this challenge are finding POC a challenge in itself as many people don’t think in that way. There was a lot of confusion so the people at Book Riot had to clarify matters. So what it really is about are stories where the characters are of the non-Western tradition. So – in this story we have two Singaporean Sikhs who are visiting family in India to attend an arranged marriage. There are also Hindus and Moslems, and some of the story is about the tensions between people of these two religions in India. Traditions clash with contemporary life and the life of the haves vs the slum dwellers. There is also tension in the family where the patriarch just that – the head of the family where everything must have his approval. But! There are moments of fun when Inspector Singh tries to understand what is supposed to happen. He is tempted to give money to beggars but is dissuaded and when he and his wife emerge from the airport, they are confronted with so many taxi drivers wanting their business! The most perplexing is the question “cool car or non-AC”? Turns out that the cool car is one with air-conditioning.

No Country for Old Men by Cormack McCarthy

12497When I first started reading this grim, pitiless novel, I thought this was written well. Then as I reached the final chapters, I could see the story deteriorating. This novel can be seen as a morality tale with differing angles. Firstly it could be read as a man who, after needlessly hunting antelopes and leaving one to die after taking a potshot at it, becomes the hunted, becomes prey. Secondly, it could be seen as a morality tale about uncontrolled gun ownership and the ease of obtaining high-grade weapons (the almost pornographically lustful descriptions of guns didn’t make sense to me as I don’t know a gun part from a car part). It could be seen as a wagging finger shoved in the face of the US government about their failed war on drugs. Other reviews I’ve read paint this as a OK could-be-better Western. I don’t think this is a masterpiece, and I have read better novels using the sparse, somewhat brusque storytelling approach. I’m set to read some more McCarthy (as some are on the 1001 Books list) and whether they are better than this or worse or same remains to be seen. I’ll be writing about my experiences here soon enough!

The Riddle of the Third Mile – Colin Dexter

2180590I love Inspector Morse novels, but this one is the one I least liked. I first read The Riddle about 20 years ago when I was in a British crime novels rut (a rut I really enjoyed being in at the time). The crime is one of the more unrealistic ones, but contains clever twists and turns. I dimly remembered some aspects of the story but the ending was a surprise (again). This novel contains the back story about Morse’s one love and his stint at being an undergraduate at Oxford University. I started reading this novel before going to the UK and finished when I came home. I visited Oxford and London on my trip and the scenes in those cities took on an added emphasis as I could just picture them. Reading this novel renewed my love of the irascible but endearing Morse.

Summer in the South – Cathy Holton

9852484What woman in her right mind would go to stay long term with a man’s family that she has only met once and at that, very briefly? What woman in her right mind would accept such an invitation from a man who is barely an acquaintance who had a crush on her at university?? Preposterous!! Very unlikely. Given this woman’s upbringing – living on the poverty line and looking after her incapable mother when she was a young girl, a girl who was forced to become responsible adult at a young age – this is an even more unlikely scenario. But so it is. Apparently, this man has designs on her (of course he would!!) and his family want to help him with his goal. The woman, whose name is Ana, had just lost her mother so she is in a vulnerable state. This act is predatory on the mans part. I didn’t like this aspect of the story. Her mothers death has also opened a can of worms about what her background. But her behaviour! Who would badger people about their relatives and their shady past? People she doesn’t know? That she is living in the same house with? Strange. Holton aims to meld the recent past (a murder in the family, or was it an accident?) with the present in this story and sometimes she succeeds. I enjoyed the story and it was a fast and engaging read, but I just had to think over it after finishing before writing this review.

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