March Mystery Madness Round Up: Historical and Shelf @marchmysterymadness

I normally take part in “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading”, but as I’ve not read anything except March Mystery Madness Challenges, I thought I’d do a round up of them instead!

We’re now into the 12th day of March, and I’m not as far forward with my reading as I’d like! I’ve completed two challenges so far:

The first challenge I decided to undertake was Historical.

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The Wages of Sin, by Kaite Welsh

The story is set in 1882, the year when women are first allowed to train as Doctors at the University of Edinburgh, but it’s seen as scandalous that this has been allowed to happen.

The main protagonist is Sarah Gilchrist, a Londoner who lives with her Aunt and Uncle as her parents are not happy at her decision to study Medicine. As well as studying, Sarah volunteers 2 evenings a week at a charitable hospital.

As part of her work in the hospital, she meets a young girl called Lucy, who has got herself pregnant while working in a brothel. She begs for help aborting the child, the hospital refuse and a few days later she ends up in the dissecting rooms at the university.

Sarah decides to investigate.

I was really looking forward to this story and was left really quite disappointed. This is far more a historical fiction novel then a crime novel. It’s extremely slow paced because much of the story deals with the scandals and period details. Whilst these were interesting, it left me not wanting to pick the book up as the crime was just lost. When the crime did come into the foreground, it was quite predictable.

I’ve given it 2* overall, as I did like the detail, but I think it would be more suited to someone who prefers historical fiction over crime.

The second challenge I chose was Shelf.

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Murder in the Garden, by Faith Martin

After struggling with the Historical crime, I decided a quick read was just what I needed to pick me up.

This is the 9th case for DI Hillary Greene and her team – and after the shocking end to the 8th case where her boss and friend was murdered in front of her, Hillary returns to work having taken enforced leave. As always there are 2 plots running concurrently, the main one being a gentleman bludgeoned to death in his garden. The secondary plot sees Hillary trying not to get involved in the investigation into the murder of her friend, but as his widow can’t let things go, Hillary unwittingly gets involved.

In terms of the plot, as ever there were many twists and turns to the main story, and whilst looking back I can now spot them, I missed every single one. We know who murdered her boss, it’s just a case of finding the evidence to prove it.

I enjoyed seeing a different side to Hillary in this book. She’s still her firm but fair normal self, but she’s a bit more blunt than in previous books. She has underlying issues with 2 of the 3 members of her team, and all these issues seem to finally come to a head for her.

I’ve been asked if these books can be read as standalone, and I always find it a difficult one to answer. Some need to be read in order, some don’t. However, I’m now starting to lean towards the start from the beginning.

It’s not one of my favourite Hillary Greene books, but it’s still a good read.

I gave it 3*.

This leaves me with 4 challenges to tackle. I’m thinking of picking up a “Foreign” book next!

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