Ben Aaronovitch – Lies Sleeping
3/5 for the first half, 7/5 for the second
The book started somewhat slow and aimless. Peter and the others knew that the faceless man was planning something. And that bells were involved in his plan (it makes sense in context). But for quite a while that’s all they know. Something so vague just failed to really hook me. It was watching people go “We have to stop…the thing…whatever it is. And we need to do it quickly. Probably. Because otherwise…something will happen. Probably.” For my taste, it simply took to long until they had at least a somewhat clear picture of what exactly their task was but once they did I was glued to the pages until the very end. And once again it ended with a loud BANG that made me go what? without giving me the feeling that Aaronovich is trying to add shocking twists for the sake of being shocking and not caring if it fits the flow of the story.
Miles Burton – The Secret of High Eldersham
10/10 witches want to curse the author
This book and I already didn’t start off very well because it became clear very early on that it featured one of my least favourite tropes: The Village With A Secret. Yes. A whole village is in on it, so when the Scotland Yard detective appears he has to deal with far more than the usual hostility towards strangers.
Now that whole conspiracy is more of a backdrop. The murder still had a typical mystery-motive and wasn’t “The villagers sacrificed him to the Old Gods” but that typical mystery at the core wasn’t very good. It had a moustache-twirling villain who must have fallen straight out of a cheap gothic novel – and he brought the damsel in distress he could threaten and abduct with him. And of course, our sleuth falls madly in love with her after talking to her once for five minutes. So madly, that he withholds evidence that implicates the damsel’s family members because surely her poor female nerves wouldn’t be able to cope with the shock.
George Bellairs – Death of a Busybody
Death of a Busybody is set in a small village in which – as the title suggests – one of its more unlikeable inhabitants comes to an unnatural end. A Scotland Yard detective is called in and he works together with the quirky but loveable village constable to discover which of the quirky villagers not only wanted her dead but also acted on that impulse and why the victim changed her will only days before her death. It’s all a bit paint-by-numbers-mystery and has nothing that distracts from that fact. There’s humour but it’s not sparkling wit, just “Haha! Aren’t those villagers backwards?!?”, the detective is entirely bland and I called the “How was it done?” very early and after that, most of the rest of the mystery also fell into place. Admittedly, at the time of writing, it was probably less obvious but that left me with nothing to catch my interest.