Fire in the Thatch, by ECR Lorac
The Second World War is drawing to a close. Nicholas Vaughan, released from the army after an accident, takes refuge in Devon renting a thatched cottage in the beautiful countryside at Mallory Fitzjohn. Vaughan sets to work farming the land, rearing geese and renovating the cottage. Hard work and rural peace seem to make this a happy bachelor life. On a nearby farm lives the bored, flirtatious June St Cyres, an exile from London while her husband is a Japanese POW. June s presence attracts fashionable visitors of dubious character, and threatens to spoil Vaughan’s prized seclusion. When Little Thatch is destroyed in a blaze, all Vaughan s work goes up in smoke and Inspector Macdonald is drafted in to uncover a motive for murder.
This was a lovely, light mystery. I enjoyed the plot and thought the characters were really likeable – apart from the obvious bad guys! I also really liked the descriptions of Devon. Another new Golden Age author I’ve discovered and thoroughly enjoyed! This was borrowed from the library, and I gave it 5*.
A Taste for Vengeance, by Martin Walker
When a British tourist fails to turn up for a luxurious cooking vacation in Bruno’s usually idyllic Dordogne village of St. Denis, the worried hostess is quick to call on Bruno for help. Monica Felder is nowhere to be found, and her husband, a retired British major, is unreachable. And not long after Bruno discovers that Monica was traveling with a mysterious Irishman (her lover?), the two turn up dead. The Irishman’s background in intelligence and his connection to Monica’s husband only raise more questions for Bruno. Was she running away? How much does her husband really know? What’s the real story behind a scandal buried in the threesome’s military past? Meanwhile, the star of the girls’ rugby team, a favorite of Bruno’s, is pregnant, putting at risk her chances of being named to the French national squad. Bruno’s search for the truth in both cases leads him to places he hadn’t intended to go–but, as ever, he and his friends take time to savor the natural delights of the Dordogne. Santé!
I was looking forward to this as the books in the series seem to score highly on Goodreads. However, I was left very disappointed. This was very much more of a book on the life and lives of the people in the book rather than it being much police procedural. It’s my first and probably last try of this series. I borrowed it from the library, and gave it 2* – mostly for the delicious sounding food!
Beneath the Surface, by Jo Spain
From top-ten Irish bestselling author Jo Spain comes the second novel in the Inspector Tom Reynolds series
Did I know it would come to this? That I was playing Russian Roulette? I would give anything to turn back time and to be with my girls. There is no shot at redemption. I am going to die. The gun is in my eye-line as the second bullet is fired. That’s the one that kills me.
Late at night, two powerful men meet in a secret location to discuss a long nurtured plan about to come to fruition. One is desperate to know there is nothing standing in their way – the other assures him everything is taken care of. Hours later, a high-ranking government official called Ryan Finnegan is brutally slain in the most secure building in Ireland – Leinster House, the seat of parliament. Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to uncover the truth behind the murder.
At first, all the evidence hints at a politically motivated crime, until a surprise discovery takes the investigation in a dramatically different direction. Suddenly the motive for murder has got a lot more personal. . . but who benefits the most from Ryan’s death?
I love this series – it very much feels like catching up with a family! I was slightly worried that there was going to be a bit too much political intrigue and not much police procedural, but I needn’t have worried. I loved everything about it – a strong plot and excellent characters. I look forward to the next instalment! This was also from the library, and I gave it 5*.