Category Archives: Uncategorized

Books: Path of Peril

Path of Peril by Marlie Parker Wasserman is a fictionalized account of Teddy Roosevelt’s trip to inspect the Panama Canal and associated assassination attempt.

Path of Peril
by Marlie Wasserman

Accompanied by his wife and an entourage of White House and protection staff, Roosevelt sees firsthand Panama’s challenges and inequalities. The plot weaves the stories of White House secretary Maurice Latta and journalists with the events surrounding the President’s inspection of the canal project against a backdrop of an assassination plot.

The story includes a staggering number of characters, way too many for this reader to keep track of and most chapters are semi-standalone stories that describe each character’s role in the assassination attempt. The descriptions of characters and the setting are vivid and make for an interesting and engaging read. I would have liked a faster-paced development of the plot with less characters to remember.   

Books: Murder between the pages

Murder Between the Pages by Josh Lanyon wasn’t the easiest book / murder-mystery to read and follow because the characters weren’t easily distinguished and different characters told the story in different chapters.

Murder between the Pages
by Josh Lanyon

In the years just after WW2, an author of a soon-to-released novel is shot dead in a small bookstore during a book presentation. Two rival authors, Len and Felix, as well as the police set out to solve the case. The murder-victim had made enemies because of his not-so-fictitious characters in previous books so several in the audience had sufficient motive and opportunity.

The plot is well-constructed and the case is relatively straightforward for the ‘detectives’ (and the reader) to solve. The plot ticks along at a good pace and so the book is a relatively easy and comfortable read.

Books: A Winter Grave

A Winter Grave by Peter May is a well- written murder-mystery set in the near future in Scotland.

A Winter Grave by Peter May

A meteorologist discovers the body of a missing journalist in an ice-cave above Kinlochleven and Detective Cameron Brodie, from Glasgow, is assigned the initial investigation. Set in the near future, Brodie endures the effects of climate change and technological advancement as he his whisked in an un-piloted drone to the remote village where journalist was last seen alive. Recently diagnosed with cancer and given around 6 months to live, Brodie has personal reasons to revisit the Scottish mountains he first visited with his father during childhood.

The village is near the site of Scotland’s large nuclear power plant. With the help of the local policeman, the hotel-owner and a worker/whistle-blower from the power plant, Brodie’s investigations eventually lead to the knowledge that the now-dead journalist was investigating a shady political past associated with the power plant and a recent earthquake with possibly lethal consequences for all who live in the region.

The characters are well-crafted with a good amount of the book is spent revealing Detective Brodie’s past and eventually revealing a present-day relationship with one of the key characters. The plot is well paced and the overall story has an eerie degree of credibility.

A very good read, highly recommended.

Books: A Perfect Time to Murder

A Perfect Time to Murder by N.R. Daws is an easy and comfortable winter-time read. It breaks one of the fundamental rules of whodunnits but it’s well-written and the characters and plot work well so I recommend it as an easy weekend read.

It is January 1941 and Det Inspector Kember has been called to investigate a suspicious death at a coal mine in Kent. Air Force pilot, Lizzie Hayes is grounded and follows Kember to help. Kember applies his logical detective training while Hayes applies her forensic psychology training. (The psychology is highly dubious, but it makes for a good story, so we’ll forgive it.)

Almost all the staff at the mine has cause to kill the victim. Navigating a coal mine/colliery in the snow, during a war with blackouts and surrounded by possible killers puts Kember and Hays at risk and they make several narrow escapes before help arrives.

As a whodunit, A Perfect Time to Murder rather fails because it breaks some of the rules. The reader isn’t given all the clues and without them, there was no way to work out who the killer was before the grand reveal at the end of the book. Agatha Christie would not approve! But as a light piece of historical fiction, set in a quaint setting and time, it works fine. The characters are interesting and agreeable and the plot ticks along at an easy pace. The writing is accurate and so the entire book is a comfortable winter read.  

Books: The Foster Family

The Foster Family by Nicole Trope is well-written and easy to read. The plot is straightforward, the characters are well-developed and easy to either like or dislike as ‘appropriate’.

Elizabeth and Howard take their young foster son Joe to a holiday house at the beach where they meet Gordon, their elderly neighbour who is suffering from memory-loss. Gordon soon realises that Joe and his foster family may not be happy. Howard is an angry man with an unhappy relationship with his wife and and even less positive relationship with Joe. When Joe goes missing and Gordon wants to tell the police what he thinks he remembers. Gordon’s son comes to stay and his local knowledge proves invaluable in the search for Joe.

I especially enjoyed the ay the author developed Gordon’s character in the centre and kept the relationship with his son who was always coming to visit somehow critical to the ending/resolution. Indeed, for me, that was the real story and so the title misdirected the reader’s attention to the family and not the neighbour.