Book Review – Historical Crime Fiction

Book Review – Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell.

Delivering the Truth

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Midnight Ink for allowing me a free ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

I have to say that the author, known here as Edith Maxwell, is starting to grow on me as a favourite mystery writer. I didn’t hit it off with the first book of hers I read, warmed to her when reading one of the mysteries she wrote as Maddie Day and, upon her suggestion in response to a previous review on my blog, requested a copy of ‘Delivering the Truth’ to see how well she could pull off a historical crime mystery as Ms Maxwell. And… I wasn’t disappointed.

As I think I possibly mentioned in my review of ‘Flipped for Murder’ (by Maddie Day) I believed the author holds a lot of talent for writing in the different sub-genres of crime fiction and differentiates these sub-genres well by using a different ‘writer’s name’ for each. Not that she is hiding who she is! No, the author is simply telling her audiences what style to expect with each name… and I totally love it in Ms Maxwell’s case as she is one of those rare authors to have pulled this off! See Edith Pargeter/ Ellis Peters as another good example.

I happen to be a huge fan of historic crime fiction – it was one of the first crime fiction genres I got addicted to. But also freely admit there are very few modern historical crime fiction books I enjoy. As in, the majority of historical crime fiction I love was actually written at the time it was set. See Sir Author Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, etc. And so, to come across someone writing about the past and still making it enjoyable – big brownie points from me. And Ms Maxwell not only made it enjoyable, but believable and to the extent I am curious to now research more about the Quakers of that time and location.

Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally found a turn of phrase or mindset I did feel was out of time and place, but these were tiny creases in an overall enjoyable story. It happens when people write about the past and simply do not detach themselves enough from the present. Tiny little creases like this are acceptable to me. It’s when an author superimposes all modern mindsets and beliefs over a historical setting that I cringe and can’t get rid of the book fast enough. I didn’t get rid of ‘Delivering the Truth’. In fact, I can see it as a book I will want to read again at a later date I enjoyed it so much and want to return to its memories.

The pace of the story was good, the setting and characters inviting and interesting and the mystery had just the right balance of red herrings and misdirection to keep me going. Yes I guessed who did it early on, how and why… but I am terrible at that and tend to do it to most books I read. I, personally, enjoy the journey of seeing if my guess was right just as enjoyable… if the book is done right. ‘Delivering the Truth’ was indeed done right. A very good read.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. It’s a lovely little end of the 19th century historical crime set in America and based around the beliefs and life of a Quaker midwife. For lovers of historical crime and light mysteries – this is a good book for you. I believe it is the first in a series (I hope it is) and so works well as a stand-alone novel.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. And, as mentioned, hope it does make it as a series as I would keen to visit again in the next book to see how it goes and to see if those creases are smoothed out.

In summary: A good little historical murder mystery, well-paced, good plotline and interesting characters. In these coming winter months here in Australia, I feel this is a perfect book to curl up on the couch with.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – I Believe in Sherlock Holmes: Early Fan Fiction from the Very First Fandom by Douglas G Greene.

I believe in Sherlock Holmes

2 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Dover Publications for an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Sadly this was a DNF (Did Not Finish) book for me. A compilation of short stories based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes that were written at the time Holmes’ stories were originally in print sounded like a terrific book to read. Sadly, for me, the stories were rather hit and miss. Even sadder is the fact I found them more misses than hits. Some, like the story by Mark Twain, was well written and enjoyable. Others, I just scratched my head at and wondered what the point was.

What may have helped is if each story and its author were better introduced. Yes there was an introduction to the book, and it covered the basics of what the tales would be about… but in this sort of compilation, I do enjoy each new tale having a brief introduction about the author – to refresh the reader as to who they are again – and maybe a brief rundown of the story to put it into some context. That way they might not seem like such a mish mash of tales that got rather redundant and repetitive for me.

This book may suit others, or may have been more enjoyable if I restricted myself to a story a day rather than trying to read it all in one sitting… but it wasn’t a book for me. The concept is good, there are some notably good authors included, but all in all it just didn’t capture and keep my attention as hoped.

Would I recommend this book to others? I might mention it if the subject arose and point out why I didn’t like it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it, sorry.

Would I buy this book for myself? In its current formatting, I probably wouldn’t. If the chapters had the author intros and synopsis added, I might reconsider, but right now not a book I’d own.

In summary: A book with a lot of promise that just didn’t follow through or entertain me the way I had hoped it would. Not a book for me, but other fans of Sherlock Holmes may enjoy it.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

Book Review: The Weaver’s Inheritance by Kate Sedley.

3 out of 5 stars.

This was a book read from my local library.

I have read other books in this series, and found this one just as enjoyable. One day I will actually get myself organised enough to read them all in order!

It is your typical historical whodunit. Not just a murder mystery, but a fine weave (pardon the pun) of the history of Chapman through this series, a revisiting of older times in his life, a broader look at the political maelstrom that was happening in England at that time… and the mystery part of it too.

A very good read, a highly enjoyable series and one I strongly recommend to lovers of historical crime series. This one has been a favourite of mine for over 10 years and it’s still fun to find and read them now.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO