What I’ve been reading – The Hampstead Mystery by Arthur J. Rees

The Hampstead MysteryThe Hampstead Mystery by Arthur J. Rees

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Slow, thinly characterized, dubious ‘psychological’ deductions, descriptions and motivations ascribed. Numerous patronizingly stereotypical portraits of working-class characters and women. Not genuinely awful, but not of the first rank and certainly very much of its time. One point five stars really.

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What I’ve been reading – Still Kicking by Judith Arnold

Still KickingStill Kicking by Judith Arnold

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved it! For a respectable small-town schoolmarm and widow, Lainie is pretty ruthless and willing to fight her corner and give ’em hell, when necessary. And Lainie + Stavik, her blue-collar rough-n-ready lover, = hot! I’m not much into soccer, but I still liked the rounding her love of the game gave to Lainie’s character – a woman with passions beyond the purely sexual or romantic, a full life and a physical earthiness and strength lent by her enthusiasm for the sport. Lainie’s emotions are realistically represented, and while her DIY detective activities may be less credible, they’re still a lot of fun. (And I can easily believe how smart and brave she is in persisting with them.)

A really great beginning to a series, easily 4 stars.

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What I’ve been reading – The Mystery of the Blue Dolphins by Sandra Baublitz

The Mystery of the Blue Dolphins (A Dog Detective Series Book 1)The Mystery of the Blue Dolphins by Sandra Baublitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved it! Fun additional surprise at the end, and a very sweet and cosy mystery leading up to it, for those of us who prefer more vicarages and becardiganed spinsters, and less gore, in our crime stories.

I will quibble a little and say that more detailed character development and history for Clarissa – and Paudius Pernivious – would be great, but no doubt that will be taken care of in other Paw tales.

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What I’ve been reading – An Unsuitable Job For A Woman by P.D. James

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Cordelia Gray, #1)An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’ve always found James’ work moderately clever, but overrated. There’s a nasty distant, critical view of human nature that leaves me with a manky taste in my mouth. I mean to say – Jeeves – I can understand having a low opinion of your fellow creatures, but OTOH, who of us is without sin and you gotta love the little bastards anyway. Love ’em into insensibility. How are any of us getting any better otherwise? If we go down into the grave, each one of us, still slavering and frothing and hungering for destruction, then – well, then we’re all Donald Trump. We can do better than that.

…spoilers…

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Book Review – The Hampstead Mystery by Arthur J. Rees

The Hampstead MysteryThe Hampstead Mystery by Arthur J. Rees

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Slow, thinly characterized, dubious ‘psychological’ deductions, descriptions and motivations ascribed. Numerous patronizingly stereotypical portraits of working-class characters and women. Not genuinely awful, but not of the first rank and certainly very much of its time. One point five stars really.

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