A Conspiracy of Paper – David Liss

Set in London the early 18th century, in the era when financial institutions and paper-based monetary systems were emerging in concept and in fact, this book is part murder-mystery, part-historical novel, with lots of detail on the jewish and financial communities in London, as well as its underworld of fist-fighters, gin joints, pick pockets and prostitutes.

It took me a while to get into it – in addition to the breadth of information provided by way of general backgrounds and settings, the main character is a bit of a mish-mash, and I found it hard to get a feel for him. At times it felt like David Liss was just desparate to fit in everything he’d discovered in doing his research.

That said, in the end, I wanted to know what happened enough to take the novel with me on my trip to India and Nepal! I still couldn’t articulate a snappy description of the book when asked by the Gulf Air stewardess though….

Buy it: Amazon link

D is for Deadbeat – Sue Grafton

More satisfying than C for me, largely because of the action in Kinsey’s personal life, and the fact that for the first time she has a client who is a crim/ex-crim, who is subsequently murdered. The main gripe I had with this plot is that the Whodunnit factor rests on there being 5 suspects and the fact that all are slim blondes, and I failed to pick up on these significant features in the initial descriptions of most of them, with the end result that it was hard to follow the twists and turns in the later chapters.

Buy it: Amazon link

B is for Burglar – Sue Grafton

Another of my pre-Christmas haul of reading from Barbican Library, and still in the crime genre – not my usual fayre, but I like to dip into it every now and again.

I’ve read a few Kinsey Millhones before, and thought I’d best start from the beginning, and B was as close as I could get. I do have C and D on the bookshelves to speed on through though.

A Californian ex cop and feisty female private eye, Kinsey Millhone makes a good heroine, and Sue Grafton’s plots are convoluted enough to keep you turning the pages, while not having too many nightmare inducing moments.

Buy it: Amazon link

Blow Fly – Patricia Cornwell

Quite the scariest crime novel I’ve read in a while, so no surprises that I had nightmares last night, even if all the twists and turns take place in the USA. Unlike the other books covering other parts of Kay Scarpetta’s life, she isn’t a central character in this one, which focuses more on the people close to her and her chillingly evil arch enemies.

I’ve missed out on a lot of background developments by skipping straight from Cruel and Unusual to Blow Fly, but that’s because the Barbican library didn’t have any of the ones in between, and I’m not enough of a crime fan to actually buy the books. As and when I see any, either in the library or second hand, I’d definitely pick them up – Patricia Cornwell writes good crime!

Amazon.co.uk link: Blow Fly – Patricia Cornwell
Amazon.co.uk list: Kay Scarpetta Collection (in order)