Tuesday, 5 November 2019

The Mystery Path - part II

The first Mystery Path you find under link. I have read a few very good mystery/thrillers and would like to share a few short reviews with you.

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

Another typical Kate Morton story. I love her way of telling two parallell stories; a modern one and a mystery in the past. This time we meet Elodie Winslow, a young archivist, living in London. She is working for a prestigious, old lawyer's firm and take care of their archives. One day she finds a leather satchel with two unrelated items; a sepia photograph of a beautiful, mysterious woman dressed in Victorian clothing, and an artist's sketchbook containing a drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. It is a drawing of Birchwood Manor and it feels familiar to Elodie.

The past story takes place in the summer of 1862, when a group of young artists meet in the house of talented painter Edward Radcliffe. They are meeting to spend a secluded summer with friends and to find inspiration for their creative work. However, it does not turn out as expected; one woman has been shot dead, one has disappeared and a priceless heirloom is missing. Edward Radcliffe's life is in ruins and will never be the same.

When Elodie finds the photograph of the mysterious woman, she gets mesmerised by her. She wants to find out who she is. What is her story? How is she connected to the house in the drawing? And why does Elodie has a feeling she knows the place. As always an interesting, dramatic story and Kate Morton takes us through time to find out a hidden mystery and disastrous circumstances. It is exciting, well written and difficult to put down.

Flowers Over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti

"Ilaria Tuti’s debut thriller explores a remote community in Northern Italy—a place of secrets, eerie folktales, and primal instincts. In a quiet village surrounded by ancient woods and the imposing Italian Alps, a man is found naked with his eyes gouged out. It is the first in a string of gruesome murders. 
Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, a detective with a background in criminal profiling, is called to investigate. Battaglia is in her mid-sixties, her rank and expertise hard-won from decades of battling for respect in a male-dominated Italian police force. While she’s not sure she trusts the young city inspector assigned to assist her, she sees right away that this is no ordinary case: buried deep in these mountains is a dark history that may endanger a group of eight-year-old children toward whom the killer seems to gravitate." (Summary from Penguin Random House)
It is interesting to find a new kind of detective. A mid-sixties, very experience female detective. She is tough to her colleagues, but they seem all to admire her, and always wanting to do their best for her. Although she seems strong outwards, she has her own demons to fight. I like the personal struggle between Battaglia and her new city inspector.

A rather amazing debut novel. The setting in a small village in the Alps, with a small community, where everyone knows each other, gives and extra twist and underlying tensions. Also here, we find two stories; one in the past and one in the present. We do understand that the past one will have a bearing on the modern murder case. However, even the past one is a mystery, and we only get small hints as we read along. It is gruesome, exciting, thrilling and scary. It is a very dark story, and though it is a murder mystery, it can as well be seen as a life drama. While reading I came to think of the story of Frankenstein's monster. As with the monster, we do, in this story, get a kind of sympathy for the culprit. Really looking forward to another novel by Tuti.

The Hiding Places by Katherine Webb

"Wiltshire, 1922. Fifteen-year old Pudding Cartwright has begun the career she always wanted, as girl groom to the Hadleigh family's horses at Manor Farm. Irene Hadleigh is struggling to adjust to her new life in sleepy Slaughterford, having married Alistair to escape a scandal in London. At a loss to occupy herself, Irene sets about restyling Manor Farm, and during the work the chance finding of a strange object, hidden away in the house for years, will change everything. 
When somebody close to both of them is murdered, Pudding and Irene are thrown together to seek out the identity of the killer in their midst, unaware of just how deep the roots of the crime lie. 
During a hot, humid summer of grief, betrayal, and misapprehensions, they will uncover truths neither of them could ever have foreseen." (Summary from Goodreads)
This novel is much more than just a murder mystery. It is a book about relationships, interaction between high and low, rich and poor. The characters are very well drawn and you connect with most of them. The mystery itself does not get an answer until the very end, and I was not able to guess who it was. There is a twist here that is not obvious at all as you read along, but I don't want to give any spoilers here, unless you want to read it. Quite a different murder mystery, but also a story of people in a village and obstacles in relationships, whether it is love or just with your neighbour. A little bit of witchcraft always complicate the matter.

Sen Frost (Später Frost/Late Frost) by Kerstin Danielsson and Roman Voosen

This is the first detective story by this Swedish/German duo translated into Swedish. They have written seven books about Nyström and Forss in German. I got interested in it, because it takes place in Växjö, a city in the south of Sweden, of which I am familiar. I have many relatives there, one has actually worked with the police force.

An old man, a butterfly researcher, is brutally murdered, in his house in the forests. There seem to be no direct motive for the murder, but as the detectives Ingrid Nyström and Stina Forss find out more, they realise that he lived a double life. It takes them to the higher circles of Stockholm as well as to a hospital in Jerusalem, before they have the answer to who the murder is.

I found it a little bit slow in the beginning, but it changed quickly. I love detective stories where there is an intriguing mystery about the victim. Here you have it all, and it is only in the end that you can guess who did it.

Black Water Lilies (Nymphéas noir) by Michel Bussi

I read Bussi's After the Crash and liked it very much. When I saw Black Water Lilies in the library I quickly grabbed it. Michel Bussi is one of the most popular writers in France, and you know why when you have read some of his books. It is a murder mystery, but so much more. There is really a story, or two, behind the murder and the characters.
"This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jérôme Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens at Giverny, where Monet did his famous paintings. In Jérôme's pocket is a postcard of Monet's Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday. 
Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jérôme Morval's corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious Black Water Lilies, a rumoured masterpiece by Monet that has never been found..." (Summary from Goodreads)
A murder mystery, where it is almost impossible to guess who did it. As you see from the summary, it is also so much more than a murder. A story of a village, the people in it, relationships and agonies, friends and enemies. All set against Monet's beautiful garden in Giverny. What does the old woman in the windmill know of what is happening? She has a view overlooking the whole village. Who is she and which story does she carry? A marvellous mystery where you don't see the end coming until you are there. And what a wonderful ending!


  1. I am constantly on the hunt for murder mysteries and the settings for all of these sound fabulous. Thanks for sharing these. My list just got longer!

    1. I like when the murder mystery is a little bit different from the usual ones. So many these days, has a tired middle aged, depressed man as a detective. Anything going away from this is great. But, it seems also female, detectives seem to be depressed and stressed. Maybe this is the reality for the police today? I don't know. Well, worth reading are these samples.

  2. I was disappointed by that one by Morton, I have so loved all her previous ones.
    BUT I am so glad you read this book by Bussi. I have recently listened to all his novels in French, they are so so good. Yes what a tour de force at the end of this one. Then I went back to reading the very beginning, so so well done

    1. I must agree, it is not my favourite by Kate Morton, but I still enjoyed the mystery of what happened so many years before. Bussi is a real treat. Lucky you, who can read/listen in French. Although I am happy to have his books available in English or Swedish. Will definitely read more by him.