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Double Daggers September 9, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Authors, Books, Fiction, Mysteries, Reading.
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One of my friends says that if she let herself, she would be reading mysteries all day long and never do anything else.  Since she is a remarkable person who makes a real contribution to our world, I am glad that she sets limits on the mystery reading. 

I too love mysteries and have spent an inordinate amount of my life reading them.  My friend has decided to read only the best ones, which I think is a fine approach, sort of like only eating really tasty food.  Here are a couple of titles that I think she – and you – might consider.  It so happens that they are both “Dagger” winners.  

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award from the Crime Writers’ Association (UK), which is the largest cash prize in the mystery field.  Set in the Shetland Islands, it depicts the mystery of a young girl’s murder against the background of an isolated community.  There is an obvious suspect, but Detective Jimmy Perez has doubts.  He is also struggling to decide whether to give up police work in favor of a life on the even smaller island where he was born. 

I really enjoyed the portrayal of the community, so very different from our own, and the characters.  If you want to cool down, this book would be a good choice, since the setting is invariably cold.  An excellent police procedural.  And I’m happy to report that there are three more in the series!

Another British standout is the more recent Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, which won the Debut Dagger from the CWA.  Flavia de Luce is the eleven-year-old schoolgirl and amateur chemist who must solve the mystery when her father is accused of murdering an old classmate.  Set in the fifties, the book is charmingly eccentric and I loved the fact that a smart, strong, and independent young girl was the main character.  You will pick up a few facts about chemistry, poison, British stamps, and escaping from sticky situations.  Most enjoyable and highly recommended. 

Happy Reading!

 

The Book Goddess