Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shining a Light

P.D. James' The Lighthouse is not her best effort, yet even a mediocre James is a great read. Her books may be a bit formulaic, yet no one else writes the traditional English whodunnit like James. In the Lighthouse, a much-hated author is killed by hanging (from the lighthouse) on an island accessible to only a few people. Adam Dagliesh, along with Kate Miskin and Francis Benton-Smith, are brought in to solve the crime, but then Dagliesh is infected by SARS, and the island is quarantined -- with the killer among them. Rating: A+

Other recent reads:
The Raphael Affair by Iain Pears. The first in his art history mysteries, set in Italy and London. Fast-paced, with charming characters and witty writing. A series that will go to the top of my TBR (to be read) list. Rating: A

Bad Twin by Gary Troup (aka Laurence Shames). This book is a tie-in to the Lost TV show, although there was little to actually tie it in. On its own, stands up well as a private-eye book. Rating: B-

Friends, Lovers and Chocolate and 44 Scotland Street, both by Alexander McCall Smith. Both were audiotapes, which I find the best way to "read" McCall Smith. His books are a light romp, with enjoyable characters and minor mysteries (although 44 Scotland Street is not a mystery). I enjoy hearing the lilting Scottish accent, which helps transport me to his Scottish settings. Rating: B

Another Man's Poison by Ann Cleeves. Another underrated British mystery. The sixth in a series featuring bird-watcher and crime solver George Palmer-Jones and his wife Molly. In investigating whether a politician poisoned protected species of birds and if that had to do with a woman's murder, they come across long-ago family secrets. Rating: B+

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