Wednesday, October 10, 2007

September reads

Not surprisingly, after a U.K. trip, I'm still reading only U.K. authors (or, in one case, about an English author):

The Case of the Missing Bronte
by Robert Barnard
Protagonist: Percy Trewothan
Setting: Haworth
Rating: 3.5
The premise: What if a missing Bronte manuscript turned up? What would people do to claim it? In this case, attempted murder and mayhem ensue, but there's the usual humor in the Trewothan series.

Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves
Protagonist: Vera Stanhope
Setting: Northumberland
Rating: 4.5
I've been raving about Cleeves' Black Raven, and now there's another series I'm hooked on. Vera Stanhope is a middle-aged, overweight, never married, slightly bitter detective -- who also is very good at her job. In this novel, a boy is found strangled in his bathtub, surrounded by flowers. Then a young woman is found on the beach, similarly posed. The clues lead to a group of four men, longtime friends. Can one of them be the murderer?

Prey to All
by Natasha Cooper
Protagonist: Trish Maguire
Setting: London
Rating: 3.5
Banister Trish Maguire gets pulled into a TV program examining whether a jail woman did indeed kill her own father. As Maguire investigates, there's another murder, and suddenly she's looking out for her own safety. The book's characters are interesting, but the author employs a technique which kept confusing me -- switching the narrator's voice from character to character. For being slightly confusing, I give this book lower marks.

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
by Stephen Greenblatt
(on audio, narrated by Peter J. Fernandez)
Rating: 4.7
Even if you haven't read Shakespeare in, oh, 20 years, this is still an entertaining account of Shakespeare's life that also provides a look into Elizabethan England. I highly recommend this book!

Curious Scotland: Tales from a Hidden History
by George Rosie
Rating: 3.2
A sort of history of Scotland -- tales of quirky aspects of the country's past. It won't fill in for a complete history, but is a quick, fun read.