(The UK version was published as Eight Perfect Murders.) We generally enjoyed Swanson's romp through favorite mysteries. Protagonist Malcolm Kershaw plays with the devil when he imitates Strangers on a Train a little too closely. He runs a bookstore, but when he gets a visit from an FBI agent, the game is on.....(Readers--keep a close eye on Ginger the cat!)
While one group member is totally in love with Fforde's series, the rest of us didn't appreciate the book so terribly much. We acknowledged its cleverness, but we felt too lost to embrace it.
We did love the name of the protagonist: Thursday Next. I especially appreciated the work the character did in her first adventure: changing the ending to that dratted Jane Eyre I absolutely hated in high school!
Although we had some reservations about the frequent violence, we admired this story about a serial killer who is jealous enough of others to ruin lives. In this case he infiltrates the jury, causing lawyer Eddie Flynn to have special trouble. Flynn is likeable, and we enjoyed following his logic as he slowly puts together a case against Kane. He gets help from a former FBI agent and a current one, and together they tackle the seemingly unconnected spray of killings.
This is the 4th book in the series, but the book works well as a standalone, and some of us might check out the other Cavanaugh books. Interestingly enough, the author is Irish! Yet he uses NYC as his backdrop. Flynn sounds perfectly American, as do the other characters. Hat's off!
Most of us enjoyed Dog on It and appreciated being in the head of a dog. (As a cat person, perhaps I had more trouble with this one!) Good humor and an actual plot that we could follow.
Case Histories had a nice voice, but some of us got lost in the multitude of characters. We really liked the main character, though. Jackson was hysterical whether he was dealing with a house fire or being kind to Binky, the cat lady who hired Jackson to find her black cats that started going missing ....
Brodsky's tale was a run romp through Thailand. We appreciated the humor and the unusual characters. For those who had traveled to Thailand, the book provided a chance to relive happy travel memories. For others it served as a reminder that Thailand is only a few flights away.
However, as a writing instructor, I will point out the lack of editing was annoying. Commas were misplaced or not placed, and the formatting was not always uniform. Those are easy fixes, however, perhaps for a future addition.
The protagonist of Michaelides' mystery-thriller is a psychologist on a mission to save an artist who has been accused of murdering her husband. There's no good reason she should have done that--by all accounts they had a great marriage. The sneaky protagonist has tricks up his sleeve, and he's determined to coax his silent patient into talking.
On balance we enjoyed the unusual narrative structure and characters. We were mixed on what we thought about the narrator--some of us had more sympathy for him than others. The writing is clean and crisp, and the novel doesn't fit any usual patterns.
We had fun with the light-hearted magical cats book, but we might have liked a bit more magic. Kelly has a nice voice and the book was amiable, but those cats could have done more work if they'd tried a bit harder.
Peter N. Walker (pen name Nicholas Rhea) was an inspector for the North Yorkshire Police. In this first volume, he recounts vignettes adapted from true-life experiences. This book launched a set of 35 more! It also launched a series that can be seen on BritBox called Heartland. Although we appreciated the visit to this tranquil world, we generally appreciate longer stories.
Third Thursday of the Month: 6:30-8pm AZ time
Like mysteries? Then come join us!
While we hope to return to the library soon, in the meantime we'll continue to zoom our meetings:
January 21: Rhea, Nicholas. Constable on the Hill. (1st in series) (1979)
February 18: Kelly, Sophie. The Cats Came Back. (2018)
March 18: Michaelides, Alex. The Silent Patient. Complex thriller. (2019)
April 15: Brodsky, Zach. The Mysterious Case of the Missing Tuk-Tuk. 1st of 3. (2019)
May 20: Quinn, Spencer, Dog On It. (2009)
June 17:Atkinson, Kate. Case Histories. (2007)
July 15: Cavanaugh, Steve. Thirteen. (2020)
August 19: Fforde, Jasper. Lost in a Good Book. (2004)
September 16: Swanson, Peter. Rules for Perfect Murders (2020)
October 21: Walker, Martin. Fatal Pursuit. (2016)
November 18: Grant, Michael The Artful Assassin (2020)
December 16: Spencer-Fleming, Julia. Hid from Our Eyes (PB 4/21)
Tonight's book was a breezy romp on a cruise ship with a murderer or two, a victim or two, and a wild animal. We appreciated Thomas' humor and the breezy read. We might have heard about the Balenciaga bag too often, but we were astonished to Google the brand and find out that those purses are expensive! No wonder protagonist Cyd Redondo hangs onto hers so tightly!
The novel has good humor throughout, For example, on p. 33: “I looked through [the helicopter] door at the water below and reminded myself that in eight seasons, Thomas Magnum, P.I., had never fallen out.”
Cyd is a fun protagonist, and Thomas whisks her through one adventure after another until the story strands finally come together.