This is the 17th instalment of “Recent Reads”, where I wrap up 3 books that I don’t have a lot to say about!
Seven Signs of Life, by Aoife Abbey
Grief. Anger. Joy. Fear. Distraction. Disgust. Hope. All emotions we expect to encounter over our lifetime.
But what if this was every day? And what if your ability to manage them was the difference between life and death?
For a doctor in Intensive Care this is part of the job. Fear in the eyes of a terminally ill patient who pleads with you to not let them die. Grief when you make a potentially fatal mistake. Disgust at caring for a convicted rapist. But there are also moments of joy, like the rare bright spots of lucidity for a dementia patient, or when the ward unexpectedly breaks into song.
Dr Aoife Abbey shows us what a doctor sees of humanity as it comes through the revolving door of the hospital and takes us beyond a purely medical perspective. Told through seven emotions, Seven Signs of Life is about what it means to be alive and how it feels to care for a living.
I was slightly disappointed by this one. In previous medical memoirs I’ve been used to reading a chapter per case, and this was somewhat different in that it only had seven chapters, each filled with several anecdotes. It was still a very interesting and moving book. I borrowed this from the library, and I gave it 3*.
An Unfamiliar Murder, by Jane Isaac
Arriving home from a routine day at work, Anna Cottrell has no idea that her life is about to change forever. But discovering the stabbed body of a stranger in her flat, then becoming prime suspect in a murder enquiry is only the beginning. Her persistent claims of innocence start to crumble when new evidence links her irrevocably with the victim…
Leading her first murder enquiry, DCI Helen Lavery unravels a trail of deception, family secrets and betrayal. When people close to the Cottrell family start to disappear, Lavery is forced into a race against time. Can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?
I really enjoyed this. It was a fast paced read, and I had to keep turning the pages, to understand what had happened. I liked DCI Lavery and was pleased to see she has a relatively normal family life outside of work. I borrowed this from my in-laws, and gave it 5*.
The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy L. Sayers
The best of the golden age crime writers, praised by all the top modern writers in the field including P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, Dorothy L. Sayers created the immortal Lord Peter Wimsey. The 11th book featuring Lord Peter, set in a country church, is often named as the best detective story ever written. With an introduction by Elizabeth George.
Whilst I struggled a bit with this one (I don’t feel that it was necessary for quite such a long and intense 60-odd page introduction to bell ringing!), once it got going I really enjoyed it. The characters were well written and fun, and the plotting was very clever. This has not put me off reading others. I gave it 3* (would have been 4 – but for the bell ringing!), and it was from my own TBR mountain.