Crime - Shastrix Books


Recently reviewed

The Poisoning in the Pub

The Poisoning in the Pub

Simon Brett

24th December 2022

Book 10 in Fethering sees us revisit a growing cast of familiar characters, who are out for lunch at the pub when disaster strikes.

I was looking for something light after some heftier novels, and this fit the bill perfectly. Crimes are much better to read about when you are aligned with a couple of random middle-aged ladies rather than the police or the criminal.

Nice relaxing fare. Only at the very end did I finally feel I was a step ahead of the characters.

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Blood at the Bookies

Blood at the Bookies

Simon Brett

19th December 2021

Back to the seaside town of Fethering we go, to find nobody particularly suspicious that there’s been another in a complex series of unrelated murders that the local police can’t solve, and so two armchair detectives must step in.

It’s another great tale pulling a range of characters that seem typical of modern village life and tying their lives together in interesting ways that make for humour, must yet, and an enjoyable read.

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The Impossible Dead

The Impossible Dead

Ian Rankin

5th October 2021

This is the second Malcolm Fox novel, following the story of a police inspector tasked with investigating other police officers. The previous novel was the first Ian Rankin that I read, and I’ve now caught up through his Rebus novels to the point where this pair fit into the timeline.

Initially created to be a new replacement series, meta knowledge now means I know the two merge, so despite some reluctance I picked this one off my shelf to read.

I can barely remember what happened in the first book - but this time out Fox and his colleagues are off to investigate some officers from a neighbouring force after one of their colleagues is arrested.

While Fox is clearly deliberately not Rebus, I found this makes him just too bland to be an inspiring lead character, and his set of colleagues felt a bit too uncomfortable to class as likeable.

It was a slow story that I felt like I had to put effort into reading, rather than flowing smoothly like I’d expect from Ian Rankin. The plot felt a bit too convoluted, and I found myself missing what I’ve been enjoying in the Rebus novels.

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The Man in the Brown Suit

The Man in the Brown Suit

Agatha Christie

12th December 2020

This early Agatha Christie mystery was a refreshing return to her writing after I completed my read-through of the Poirot novels some months ago. It’s a slightly complex plot which sees a young woman find herself by chance investigating a crime that leads her on quite an adventure.

There are a lot of the hallmarks of classic Christie, and yet also quite a different feel in places. The pace feels fast, and the setting changes constantly, whereas many of those I’ve read before have been geographically static.

There are lighthearted and even comedic elements, and it seems obvious that the writer is having some fun in putting the characters and story together.

Ultimately it felt something lacking though. Possibly the mystery was too complex, or not quite explained in such a way to make me feel I had reached a satisfying conclusion.

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Death Under the Dryer

Death Under the Dryer

Simon Brett

16th August 2020

I’ve found the previous novels in this series very relaxing to read, and Death Under The Dryer continues this trend. While set in the modern era, it continues the spirit of the classic mystery novel, with a casual attitude and relaxed mildly comedic turn to the characters and their relationships.

This time out, our two amateur detectives find themselves on the scene when a murder is discovered, and surrounded throughout my new characters who are richly varied and live the complex intertwined lives that are necessary for this sort of plot.

The normalcy of the lives of Brett’s characters make for very chilled reading - which is something I really appreciate in a novel at the moment. Exactly what I was looking for.

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Exit Music

Exit Music

Ian Rankin

1st May 2020

Originally marketed as the final Rebus novel, Exit Music covers the final two weeks of Rebus’ career as he approaches retirement, with a collection of unsolved cases hanging over his conscience, and a fresh murder to investigate.

I’ve been off reading crime novels recently, because they became a bit too violent for my liking, but this was much more what I look for - there’s crime, but its not crime that’s celebrated or glorified or too graphic, and the focus is on the investigation - interviewing witnesses and suspects, hunting for clues, and so on.

I’ve grown quite fond of the varying characters over the years reading this series, and would certainly have been sad reading this at the point of publication, although now of course I’m aware that there are more books to come.

Reading this has certainly reinvigorated me to think more about crime and mystery novels. I think there’s a fine line in finding exactly the right tone to pitch at, and Rankin’s totally found it in this novel.

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The Memory of Blood

The Memory of Blood

Christopher Fowler

19th May 2019

Book nine for Bryant and May takes a different route than the one I had expected. The previous two novels having formed a mini-series, I was expecting this to form part three of the trilogy, but I was wrong and it stands alone.

The crime seems rather more brutal than those of previous novels, and somewhat more of the classic locked room mystery, just with the usual peculiar crime aspects bundled in - such as the apparent only suspect being a puppet of Mr Punch.

Somewhat confusingly, this isn’t the only paranormal crime novel set in London featuring Mr Punch that I’ve read this year, and I did find I needed to remind myself every so often which bits of plot belonged to which book.

It’s a good mystery though, and continues to explore the characters who work with the Peculiar Crimes Unit, and I look forward to continuing adventuring with them.

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Other reviewed books

Poirot's Early Cases
Elephants Can Remember
Off the Rails
The Hanging in the Hotel
A Question of Blood
On the Loose
Hallowe'en Party
Murder in the Museum
Third Girl
Hot Six
The Clocks
Set in Darkness
High Five
Blind Fury
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding
The Concrete Blonde
Dead Souls
Four to Score
Seventy-Seven Clocks
Silent Scream
Cat Among the Pigeons
The Black Ice
The Hanging Garden
Deadly Intent
Dead Man's Folly
The Case of the Missing Books
Black and Blue
Dead Tomorrow
The Black Echo
Tell No One
Hickory Dickory Dock
Clean Cut
Let it Bleed
Death on the Downs
Dead Man's Footsteps
Darkest Fear
After the Funeral
The Red Dahlia
Two for the Dough
Diamond Solitaire
The Leopard
Mortal Causes
Flesh Wounds
The Cuckoo's Calling
The Body on the Beach
No Deals, Mr Bond
The Final Detail
Mrs McGinty's Dead
Above Suspicion
One for the Money
Our Kind of Traitor
The Last Detective
The Snowman
The Black Book
Looking Good Dead
One False Move
Taken at the Flood
The Redeemer
Strip Jack
Back Spin
The Labours of Hercules
Full Dark House
The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks
The Bat
The Devil's Star
Tooth and Nail
The Hollow
The Affair of the Mutilated Mink
When the Devil Drives
The Geneva Trap
Fade Away
Five Little Pigs
Where the Bodies are Buried
Hide and Seek
Worth Dying For
Evil Under the Sun
The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy
Drop Shot
One, Two, Buckle my Shoe
Knots and Crosses
Gone Tomorrow
Sad Cypress
Deal Breaker
Nothing to Lose
Hercule Poirot's Christmas
Bad Luck and Trouble
Appointment with Death
The Hard Way
Murder in the Mews
Dead Simple
A Snow Ball in Hell
One Shot
Death on the Nile
Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks
The King of Torts
Dumb Witness
The Enemy
Cards on the Table
A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil
The Complaints
Murder in Mesopotamia
The Redbreast
Without Fail
The ABC Murders
The Sleeping Doll
Echo Burning
Death in the Clouds
Three Act Tragedy
Roadside Crosses
Murder on the Orient Express
Die Trying
Lord Edgware Dies
Mystery Man
Peril at End House
Killing Floor
Black Coffee
The Mystery of the Blue Train
The Big Four
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
The Girl Who Played With Fire
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Poirot Investigates
The Gun Seller
The Murder on the Links
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Miss Marple's Final Cases
A Study in Scarlet
Sleeping Murder
At Bertram's Hotel
A Caribbean Mystery
The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side
4.50 From Paddington
A Pocket Full of Rye
They Do It With Mirrors
A Murder Is Announced
The Moving Finger

Unreviewed books

A Darkness More Than Night
An Unkindness of Ravens
And Then There Were None
Angels Flight
Beyond Recall
Bleeding Hearts
Blood Hunt
By the Pricking of My Thumbs
City of Bones
Death Comes to Pemberley
Death in Holy Orders
Destination Unknown
Doors Open
Eleven on Top
Fearless Fourteen
Finger Lickin' Fifteen
Hard Eight
Hold Tight
Imitation in Death
Lean Mean Thirteen
Lost Light
N or M?
No More Dying Then
No Second Chance
Not in the Flesh
Plum Spooky
Postern of Fate
Seven Up
Sizzling Sixteen
Smokin' Seventeen
Ten Big Ones
The 13 Problems
The Body in the Library
The Grave Tattoo
The Last Coyote
The Lighthouse
The Mermaids Singing
The Monster in the Box
The Murder at the Vicarage
The Narrows
The Sittaford Mystery
The Watchman
The Woods
To The Nines
Trunk Music
Twelve Sharp
Union Jack
Why Didn't They Ask Evans?
Witch Hunt

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