Looking Back: September 2012

Posted: October 3, 2012 in Agatha Christie, Dalziel and Pascoe, England, Golden Age of detective fiction, Reginald Hill

During September I took an extended break from blogging. 

I was busy sorting out hundreds of receipts from my son’s involvement in the London Olympics, and taking advantage of the good weather to visit some beautiful places in Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon. When I have finished the paperwork, and other matters have resolved themselves, I hope to be able to report on the crime fiction related visits I made around the time of the Agatha Christie Festival. 

I was able to read six books during the month including:

Dark Angel: Marji Jungstedt translator Tiina Nunnally

Nordic Noir on Gotland with a neat switch of emphasis to the dysfunctional Swedish family.

Silenced: Kristina Ohlsson translator Sarah Death

A bizarrely complex tale of even more dysfunctional families and miserable lives.  Alex Recht’s crime team must be the most unhappy group in crime fiction. Not one of the best examples of Swedish crime fiction I have read.

Peril at End House: Agatha Christie

This 1932 book is very evocative of the period, and has one of Christie’s most brilliant plot twists. 

Underworld: Reginald Hill

A superb novel that paints a picture of a small mining community in Yorkshire. Hill really does understand human nature and writes such wonderful characters.

Deadheads: Reginald Hill

An absolutely brilliant book full of humour, great characters and insight. You could say that although both these books are billed as Dalziel and Pascoe novels the real star is Ellie Pascoe.

Seven Days: Deon Meyer translator K.L.Seegers

An exciting South African thriller blending the investigation of a cold case with the hunt for a ruthless sniper. I missed the Christie like clues dropped at the start and enjoyed this one immensely. Perhaps not quite as good as Trackers, but still good enough because of the tension and excitement to deadheat with Deadheads as my pick of the month.  

  1. Maxine says:

    Good to read a post again, Norman. Hope you have got the receipts under control! I liked 7 Days a lot, too, and it is useful to get your take on Silenced as I did not think a lot of the first novel (combination of crimes against babies and dumbed-down prose) so I’ll probably give this one a miss.

  2. Norman Price says:

    Thanks Maxine. Unfortunately I am still battling with those receipts.
    I did not enjoy Silenced as Ms Ohlsson piled the misery on with a large spoon. The cover sticker ” fans of The Killing” was another annoyance, and I did not feel empathy with any of the characters which is unusual for me.

  3. Margot Kinberg says:

    Norman – What a pleasure to have you back. You’ve had a nice of books this month and I’m glad you were at least able to have the time to do some quality reading. I’ll look forward to your reviews.

  4. Norman Price says:

    Thanks Margot. I read most of those while we were away, unfortunately I don’t think I will have time to do reviews for those books, unless they get nominated for the International Dagger [Seven Days?] Life has become exciting and a little worrying, but things will sort themselves out and I will resume blogging as usual. I went past the 6th birthday of Crime Scraps in September so in blogging terms it is almost as old as me. 😉

  5. kathy d. says:

    Glad you’re back and congratulations on Crime Scraps’ sixth birthday.
    I’ll put the Reginald Hill books on my TBR mountaineous list and plan to read 7 Days.

  6. He revealed himself to be a serious student of crime fiction with an influential essay on the genre, published in Whodunit? (1982), edited by Keating. Hill was proud of the fact that he retained the same literary agent and the same primary publisher, HarperCollins, throughout his career. The first Dalziel and Pascoe novel was published under the Collins Crime Club imprint. For many years his editor there was the formidable Elizabeth Walter, who insisted he was always referred to as Reginald and never Reg, as one would never think of shortening Agatha Christie’s name to “Ag”.

  7. Norman Price says:

    Thanks Kathy. The trouble is that reading Reginald Hill spoils you for weaker books.

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