I’m in an easy-reading kind of mood, so I’m setting aside all those, exciting, meaningful, I’ve-just-been-published-so-you-have-to-read-me-NOW books and picking three books and authors who’ve been around for a while and who I know will entertain me.
The first is the first book in an Australian Cosy Mystery series set in Melbourne. The second is a science fiction novella about a police detective in a future Bangalore solving a bizarre murder. The third in the ninth Walt Longmire Mystery, taking me back to small-town Wyoming.
I’m expecting to be entertained, soothed and refreshed by reading books with no agenda other than indulging myself.
‘Earthly Delight’ by Kerry Greenwood (2004)
For me, cosy mysteries are like sponge cakes, not a diet I could live off but one that, when it’s done right, is a pleasurable indulgence. There has to be more to them than air and they shouldn’t be saturated with sugar. I prefer my cosy mysteries to have a realistic setting lifted by optimism, humour and good luck.
This week, I’m trying the first book in a contemporary mystery series (well, it was contemporary when it came out in 2004 and the seventh and most recent book was published in 2019) set in Melbourne.
I decided to give the series a try when I learned that the main character, Corrina Chapman, gave up being an accountant to become a baker because accountancy was dull and baking was alchemy made real. That she then, rather reluctantly, gets involved in a bizarre investigation is the icing on the cake (sorry, I couldn’t resist that).
I’m hoping for an engaging main character, a good sense of place and some light-hearted mischief. With luck, I’ll have a whole new series to dip into when I’m craving something light and perfectly made.
‘In The House Of Aryaman A Lonely Signal Burns’ by Elizabeth Bear (2012)
Although I’ve been reading Science Fiction for decades, this will be my first time reading Elizabeth Bear. i have two of her novels, ‘Karen Memory’ and ‘Dust’ on my TBR pile, so I’ve had the intent to read her for a while.
This novella pushed its way to the front because I’m intrigued by the setting, a near-future Bangalore, by the idea of a murder that literally turns a body inside out and by having a genetically engineered parrot-cat as the only witness.
I’ve to Bangalore many times and I think it’s a great place to set this kind of story. I’m keen to see what Elizabeth Bear does with it.
‘A Serpent’s Tooth‘ by Craig Johnson (2013)
This will be my ninth visit with Sheriff Walt Longmire in Absaroka County, Wyoming. Some of the previous visits have been much better than others but none of them has been boring. The books I like best are the ones where we find out more about Walt’s history or about how Wyoming works. The one’s that lose me a little are the ones where Walt drifts of into a First Nation spirit world in which, it seems to me, he’d be unlikely to be more than a tourist.
This one looks to be more down to earth and to have a full supporting cast of my favourite characters so I’m looking forward to it, especially as Audible have finally made the audiobooks available in the UK again (Under an ‘International Edition’ label which, as far as I can tell, is exactly the same as the US version except for the price). My enjoyment of the books is always boosted by George Guidall’s narration. The man has a voice that’s like sitting by a fire on a cold night with your favourite drink in your hand.