Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
I am always delighted to discover a series that is new to me, which is entertaining, clever and well-written. So I am very pleased to have found the Dalziel and Pascoe series, which begins with "A Clubbable Woman."
First published in 1970, this book establishes the characters of Inspector Dalziel (pronounced Dee-ELL) and Sergeant Pascoe, members of the police in a medium sized town in Yorkshire. They are a fairly new mismatched pair -- the Inspector is a grizzled veteran who is large, messy, ill-mannered and loud, and who scratches a lot. The Sergeant is younger, a University graduate, nice looking and very well-mannered. A fairly large part of the story involves the partners' adjusting to each other. This requires Pascoe to attempt to understand Dalziel - not an easy thing.
The mystery involves the murder of the wife of an old star Rugby player, and the investigation centers around the local Rugby club, the social center for all of the current and former players. The plot is quite involved and the solution was not given away until quite near the end.
The book was quite enjoyable and was made even more so by the excellent narration of Brian Glover. The majority of characters spoke with Yorkshire accents, which Glover handled very well, at least to these American ears. The addition of Irish, Welsh, and Scots characters, as well as University and aristocratic accents were equally well done.
I would recommend this book to any reader who enjoys well drafted plots, colorful characters, and very little graphic violence and sex.
I'm not sure how it happened, but I have ended up reading/listening to Slaughter's Will Trent series entirely out of order. I don't usually do that with a series. However, in this case each book has enough background built into it that you can follow things with enough knowledge of the past.
In "Broken," Sara Linton has returned to Heartsdale, a small Georgia town and her hometown, to spend Thanksgiving with her family. It's the first time she has come back since she left 3 1/2 years ago, and she's not sure she should be going there at all, since Lena Adams is still in town. Lena is the woman who Sara believes is responsible for Sara's husband's death, and as a consequence Sara hates her.
The day she returns to town, the body of a college student is found in the lake. Lena, a detective, and Interim Chief Frank Wallace arrest a local mentally handicapped young man, who is convinced to sign a confession and then kills himself in his cell. Sara calls in the state police, and Will Trent is sent to investigate the prisoner's death. Once he gets there, he is of necessity involved in the murder investigation. Sara and Frank try to cover up details of both investigations, and Will must try to work around them. Then another college student is killed in the same way as the first, and the cases get more and more confused.
Slaughter writes an excellent thriller, with lots of suspense and tension as Will and Sara (and the reader) try to figure out what happened, who is hiding what, and whodunnit. The denouement reveals a killer about whom you have been given a few clues, but I only figured it out about 30 seconds before the reveal.
Natalie Ross does an excellent job of narration: good Georgia accents, and very good men's voices. As I listened, I totally forgot that one woman was doing all those voices.
For a first novel, When the Bough Breaks is pretty wonderful. And it is a great beginning to the Alex Delaware series, which now numbers 28 books and counting.
I like the way Kellerman writes. He does spend a lot of time in minute description, but somehow it's interesting, not boring, and he uses some descriptive metaphors and similes that seem unique and entertaining to me. He also spends a good deal of time describing both the emotional and physical aspects of his characters, and depicts most of those characters (except the bad guys) with empathy and compassion. Since his plots deal with psychological motivations, that seems appropriate. His plots are complex but easily followed. I do think the descriptions of Alex Delaware's own sexual encounters with his girlfriend are not very exciting.
The friendship and working relationship between Alex and Milo Sturgis, gay cop, is well drawn, and very believable.
The narration by Alexander Adams was excellent, with just the right ironic undertones that Kellerman put in Alex's words in certain passages. He handles male and female characters, with Latino, Southern and other accents, believably. And he is able to switch characters quickly in conversations. A difficult job well done.