Category Archives: Mysteries

“What I Am Is What I Do”: Robert B. Parker, Promised Land

“The kind of man I am is not a suitable topic, you know. It’s not what one talks about.” “Why?” “Because it’s not.” “The code? A man doesn’t succumb to self-analysis? It’s weak? It’s womanish?” “It’s pointless. What I am is what I do. Finding the right words for it is no improvement. It isn’t […]

“Another Corruption of Love”: Maurizio de Giovanni, Everyone In Their Place

Now, in the light of these new events, the commissario came back to this idea with some concern: both because he’d seen with lucid clarity who had killed the Duchess of Camparino and because he was no doubt infected with the same disease that had triggered the murder: jealousy. Let’s call a spade a spade, […]

Loyalty and Cutting Your Losses

Alex at Thinking in Fragments has an interesting post up about how to decide whether to carry on with a series if you aren’t that impressed with its first installment — and asking for examples of writers whose books got better as they went on. She cites the Peter Wimsey novels, for instance: if Whose Body? had […]

“The Sorrow of the Dead”: Maurizio de Giovanni, I Will Have Vengeance

I see it. I feel it, the sorrow of the dead who remain attached to a life they no longer have. I know it; I hear the sound of the blood draining away. The mind that deserts them, the brain clinging by the fingernails to the last shred of life as it runs out. Love, […]

Spenser and Susan and Not Minding

It has continued to be a busy and fairly miscellaneous period at work — meaning both at my “day job” (since when was being a teacher of any kind ever a job that got done during the day?) and at Open Letters. After a particularly good couple of days, though, I’m feeling on top of things. […]

“Links with the Past”: Arnaldur Indriðason, Silence of the Grave

He no longer heard any tales, and they became lost to him. All his people were gone, forgotten and buried in deserted rural areas. He, in turn, drifted through a city that he had no business being in. Knew that he was not the urban type. Could not really tell what he was. But he […]

Recent Reading: Romance, Reykjavik, and Relatives

In among my other recent chores and challenges I’ve read a few things chosen primarily for their likely distraction value. I don’t have a whole post’s worth of comments on any of them but I thought I’d round them up here, just to sort out my impressions of them. First, two romance novels: Julie James’s Suddenly […]

“A Place Like This”: Steve Burrows, A Siege of Bitterns

“It’s this area, you see, the birds and the people, we’re all intertwined, caught up in one another’s history. We could never let it perish, a place like this.” Despite my wariness of new (or just new-to-me) mysteries, I took a chance on Steve Burrows’ A Siege of Bitterns because when I peered at it in […]

Mistakes Were Made: Louise Penny, Bury Your Dead

I so want to love Louise Penny’s mysteries! She is one of the biggest names in Canadian crime fiction, which means (among other things) she has long been in my sights as a contender for my mystery class. And she has a lot of fervent admirers, including many of my friends. Also, of course, it’s […]

To Teach or Not to Teach: The Case of Case Histories

As promised, I have reread Kate Atkinson’s first Jackson Brodie novel, Case Histories, and I’m reporting back. My motive in rereading it was partly just to refresh my experience of it, as I remembered having thought it was very good. It is! But I was also rereading it to see if I thought it would work […]

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