Here’s a few more rapid reviews!
Europa Blues, by Arne Dahl
A Greek gangster arrives in Stockholm, only to be murdered in a macabre fashion at Skansen zoo, his body consumed by animals.
As the Intercrime Unit – a team dedicated to solving international violent crime – investigate what brought him to Sweden, eight Eastern European women vanish from a refugee centre outside of the city while an elderly professor, the tattooed numbers on his arm hinting at his terrible past, is executed at the Jewish cemetery.
Three cases, one team of detectives and an investigation that will take them across Europe and back through history as they desperately search for answers, and the identities of their killers.
I read this with my book group. It took a long time for the plot to get going, but once it did it was gripping. I also really liked the characters. I did feel that part of the reason it took me so long to read was more about my current state of mind than the book itself! I gave it 3*.
The Secret Barrister, by The Secret Barrister
“I’m a barrister, a job which requires the skills of a social worker, relationship counsellor, arm-twister, hostage negotiator, named driver, bus fare-provider, accountant, suicide watchman, coffee-supplier, surrogate parent and, on one memorable occasion, whatever the official term is for someone tasked with breaking the news to a prisoner that his girlfriend has been diagnosed with gonorrhoea.”
Welcome to the world of the Secret Barrister. These are the stories of life inside the courtroom. They are sometimes funny, often moving, and ultimately life-changing. How can you defend a child-abuser you suspect to be guilty? What do you say to someone sentenced to 10 years who you believe to be innocent? What is the law and why do we need it? And why do they wear those stupid wigs? From the criminals to the lawyers, the victims, witnesses, and officers of the law, here is the best and worst of humanity, all struggling within a broken system which would never be off the front pages if the public knew what it was really like. Both a searing first-hand account of the human cost of the criminal justice system, and a guide to how we got into this mess, The Secret Barrister wants to show you what it’s really like and why it really matters.
I really struggled with this one. It was interesting, but I was expecting there to be humour in it. Unfortunately there was none. It was a 2* read for me.
The Kill Fee, by Fiona Veitch Smith
Poppy Denby, arts and entertainment editor at the Daily Globe, covers an exhibition of Russian art, hosted by White Russian refugees, including members of the surviving exiled Romanov royal family. There is an armed robbery, a guard is shot, and the largest Fabergé egg in the collection is stolen. While the egg itself is valuable, the secrets it contains within are priceless–secrets that could threaten major political powers.
Suspects are aplenty, including the former keeper of the Fabergé egg, a Russian princess named Selena Romanova Yusopova. The interim Bolshevik Russian ambassador, Vasili Safin, inserts himself into the investigation, as he believes the egg–and the other treasures–should all be restored to the Russian people.
Poppy, her editor, Rollo, press photographer Daniel, and the other staff of the Globe are delighted to be once again in the middle of a sensational story. But soon the investigation takes a dark turn when another body is found and an employee of the newspaper becomes a suspect. The race is on to find both the key and the egg–can they be found before the killer strikes again?
This is the second in the Poppy Denby series. It’s a very cosy mystery set in the 1920’s. There’s a lot to like about the book – the characters are great, and it’s obvious the author love the period. I gave it 3*.
What hve you been reading recently?