Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's Mystery Time: Mini Reviews

2015, so far at least, seems to be the year of mysteries and thrillers for me. Of the seven books I've read so far, five of them fall within these two genres. I'm not overly picky when it comes to mysteries or thrillers, and will read anything that sounds good or is highly recommended by reading friends.  Luckily, I've enjoyed each of the books I've read in these genres this year.  Here are my thoughts on the two I most recently finished:

The Blackhouse by Peter May (4 out of 5 Stars)
Publisher: Quercus, August 2014 (Trade Paperback)
Source: Purchased

Set on Scotland's remote Isle of Lewis, The Blackhouse is a compelling mystery that highlights how our past can shape who we are, and how it can impact the present. When a Lewis man is found murdered in a manner similar to a recent killing in Edinburgh, Detective Fin Macleod is sent to the Outer Hebridean island to determine if there is a connection between the two. But the Isle of Lewis, the childhood home of Detective Macleod, is a place he had hoped never to return to, and the murdered man was a childhood bully.  Returning to the island means Fin will not only have to confront the present, but also his past. 

I enjoyed The Blackhouse immensely.  Not only was the mystery a good one, leaving me guessing as to the perpetrator until the novel's end, the characters are well-developed and interesting.  My favourite aspect of the novel, however, has to be its setting.  This is, as far as I can remember, the only book I've read set on the Isle of Lewis, and May does a great job capturing the essence of the Isle and bringing its culture to life.  I'm very much looking forward to reading the next novel in the Lewis trilogy, The Lewis Man.  I highly recommend this book to fans of the mystery genre. 

Suffer Little Children by Peter Tremayne (4 out of 5 Stars)
Publisher: Headline (mass market paperback)
Source: Purchased

Suffer Little Children is the third novel in Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma historical mystery series.  Set in Ireland in the mid-seventh century, the series features an Irish nun - Sister Fidelma - as its protagonist. Fidelma, however, is more than a nun, she is also dalaigh (lawyer) of the law courts of Ireland, and it is in this capacity that she is called upon to solve crimes. In Suffer Little Children Fidelma is asked by her brother to determine who killed a renowned scholar at an abbey within his domain, and in so doing put a stop to a war being threatened as a result of the killing. 

The Sister Fidelma series is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. Not only does the series feature a smart, fascinating heroine in Fidelma, but each of the mysteries is engaging.  I also love how Fidelma goes about solving them.  One of the strongest aspects of this book, as well as of the others in the series, is that it showcases early Christianity in Ireland and how it differs from Rome. As Roman Catholicism takes further hold in Ireland it will be interesting to see how Fidelma, who doesn't agree with many of the tenets being put forth by Rome, adapts in future books.  I can't wait to continue with this series! 

post signature